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Fine Art & Printmaking Graduate Neil Dunne

A graduate in Fine Art & Printmaking from the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, Neil Dunne is currently planning on taking up a masters degree.

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What were the motivations behind your degree show pieces of work?

My work has a strong relationship with the elegance and narrative of religious iconography that thrived during the renaissance. I take these grand and beautifully worked images and replicate them to a similar scale using a multitude of techniques that include silkscreen and digital manipulation to ultimately question the value of the original image to the audience that it is portrayed to.

I create these works that focus in on particular characters within the original paintings, often times disregarding the original focal point. The idea of the religious icon, an image that was created to portray the perfection of human form is something that I found very interesting. The original works are designed to create a relationship with the viewer; the focal point is normally Christ who is gazed upon by all other characters. Isolating a particular gaze, I emphasise the character who has until now been disregarded within the image and subvert the original context and narrative.

Religious iconography portrays to the audience the existence of a god and the narrative surrounding the character, exerting its dominance over our ability to comprehend our surroundings and the imagery that is placed in front of us. This is something I wanted to replicate in my final show; to overpower the visuals of the audience became very important to me and I recorded the influential power the monumental image can have while being void of its original narrative and surrounding imagery.

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Which creatives have inspired your work the most at university?

As my practice has always been based upon the medium of silk screen-printing and contemporary digital media while using portraiture as a means of portraying my ideas, artists such as Joseph Parra and Andrew Salgado influenced my work greatly throughout the project and their works really inspired particular aspects to my project. Similarly, Mark Wallinger’s work ‘Ecce Home’ inspired me greatly and influenced the contextual basis of my project. The work emphasized the importance of challenging the higher visual powers that are portrayed to us on a day-by-day basis. In all cases the artists dealt with their subject matter in beautifully constructed imagery and sculpture and this had a very strong influence on how I wanted to portray my imagery for my show.

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What are your plans now that your studies are complete?

The completion of this project has given me a great set of skills to apply to some work that I have been loosely working on over the past year, aspects of this project will follow through to my next project which I will be starting soon. I planned on a year out to get a strong hold on my new projects then, hopefully, to continue on my education. I believe a masters in fine art is a strong and positive way to continue on my artistic endeavours, so it is something I want to pursue. I also believe that working towards solo shows throughout the next year is equally important so that is also something I am also strongly dedicated to.

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Website | @NeilDavidJames