Influenced by the world around him, Dublin born and Belfast bred artist Robyn Ward’s latest body of work, ‘Plastic Nation’, is coming to Belfast for his first ever Irish Exhibition on Thursday, March 21.
A contemporary Northern Irish painter with studios between London and Los Angeles, Robyn is a self-taught artist who began his career as a teenager on the streets of Belfast, creating large-scale graffiti work on bridges and derelict buildings.
Looking forward to his return to Belfast, Robyn said: “Having never exhibited in my home town I am really excited to bring my latest body of work to Northern Ireland, aside from Mexico City where I am currently living and creating, Belfast will be the first city to host this new series. I left home at 18 and have been travelling and painting ever since, coming home to the streets that inspired me will be exhilarating.”
Growing up in East Belfast, Robyn attended Campbell College until he got expelled at age 15.
“I was always academic, but it wasn’t until I got expelled that I really got into art, I had nowhere to go as all my friends were in school, so I used to take myself off to paint in silence and I suppose escape from reality, I would spend hours and hours painting, it was then I really found my passion.”
Now an accomplished artist, with a number of celebrity clients under his belt Robyn currently creates works in mixed media on canvas, combining acrylics, inks, watercolours, oils and spray paint with each painting or series making commentary on the current social and economic political climate.
In his new series “Plastic Nation” he paints endangered animals on abstract backgrounds. He constantly constructs and deconstructs the pieces to create a world which is a mix of abstract and realism to form his own language.
His message is powerful, Robyn, explores societies overuse of single use plastic, pollution and how we are destroying our natural habitat and the environment, in particularly the ocean. At the same time, he highlights big brands and organisations who are contributing to the world’s demise, demanding their attention and ultimate action.
The series hints that if we keep going on our current trajectory the only animals we will have left are these ghostly, vivid, de-constructed finely painted memories of the past hanging on walls.
Robyn said: “Our world is beautiful and amazing and as humans we are damaging it potentially beyond repair, imagining a world without these incredible creatures is a tragic thought and, while not one of us can independently save the world, each of us can make small changes and play our part – I hope this series will inspire people to be more mindful of the damage we are doing and encourage them to make small changes.”
Drawing diverse inspiration from Abstract Expressionist Jackson Pollock, pop artists like Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, street artist Banksy and the surreal imagination of Hieronymus Bosch, Ward’s multi-layered and multifaceted paintings capture the lurid kaleidoscope of Western society in the 21st century.
Art expert, Charles Gilmore, who will be hosting the exhibition at his gallery in Belfast’s City Centre, is confident that Ward’s pieces will be well received in Ireland.
He said: “We’re excited to have the ‘Plastic Nation’ series hang on our walls as a wonderful example of home grown mixed media art which holds such global appeal.”
For further information on the ‘Plastic Nation’ Exhibition at Charles Gilmore Fine Arts visit www.charlesgilmore.com