White Wall | Benjamin Murphy: Éanáir 18.6.–13.7.2024

“I began working on these works during the sharp Finnish winter in which walking the short journey from my home to the studio in Vallila felt like an epic journey from which I may never return. The canvases began quite dark and got lighter as the sky grew brighter towards spring.

I was introduced to Finland around 9 years ago when I met my Finnish wife, and since then the work has become darker, and closer in theme to the vibrance and monochromatic palette of the Finnish winter. The stark contrast between the dark night sky and the bright white snow is something that has somehow found its way into my work, and the canvases seem to glow with that contrast in ways I probably couldn’t explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it.

This series of canvases represent the freshness and renewal of life that occurs once the snow and ice thaw and the plants begin to flourish once again. In those 9 years I have felt myself becoming more and more Finnish, and Celtic (which is my heritage) at the same time. The title translates as ‘Spring’ in the traditional Irish Mincéirí language Shelta as this show began to coalesce into on coherent body of work around that time. It is this interplay between my Irish heritage, and my new Finnish life that has come to define this collection in my mind, and the sense of renewal and regeneration that such a transition can initiate.

A very close friend sadly died as I was putting the finishing touches to this show, and whilst it is still too fresh a wound to really understand, it is clear that our time is fleeting, beauty is everywhere, and we should make the most of it in the time we have.” – Benjamin Murphy