Portrait Project 2019

This post is also available in: 简体中文 Chinese (Simplified)

Bachmann Girl (week19) and Friend to Many (week 32) Bloomsday event at the Embassy of Ireland Beijing June 16th 2019 (photo by Eric Favreliere )

A very Happy New Year to all. A huge thank you to all the galleries curators and collectors who have supported me throughout 2019.

Here is a quick overview of the portraits posted during 2019 . The subjects range in age from 6 months to 100 years young. I began this series when living in Prague in 2010. There are many more friends, artists, curators, family members whom I have yet to paint however for the year 2020 I will continue at a more reasonable pace , perhaps 4 or 5 portraits alongside commission work.

This blog will look at the portrait series installed in different exhibitions in 2019 and a look at the portrait for each week through the year. Also included in this blog is a curatorial statement on my portrait series by renowned curator Huang Du.

Portraits at the exhibition ‘Odyssey The Return’ at Dong Yue Art Museum Beijing April 2019
Granary Art Centre, SiShui county , Shandong, May 2019
Dancer (week 10) and Twin Song (week 8) showing at Wick Art Centre, Budapest, April 2019
From right to left :Praha Cafe (week 3) and Scoop (week 24) and others showing at China Ireland exhibition , Museu&m Expo Park , Shanghai Nov 2019


Week1 :Blazer Blue oil on canvas 50x50cm Niamh Cuningham/倪芙瑞联 2018
Week 2 Princess of Daxing 50×50 oil on canvas, Niamh Cunningham 倪芙瑞莲 2013
Week 3 : Café Praha (C.C) oil on canvas 80x60cm Niamh Cunningham/倪芙瑞莲2010
Week 4; Twin Dance oil on canvas 50x50cm Niamh Cunningham/瑞莲 2013
Week 5 Scintillator oil on canvas 50 x60cm Niamh Cunningham/倪芙瑞莲 2011
Week 6: Cameo oil on canvas 50x50cm Niamh Cunningham
Week 6: Cameo oil on canvas 50x50cm Niamh Cunningham/瑞莲2014
Week 7 Bruiser oil on canvas 50x50cm Niamh Cunningham
Week 7 Bruiser oil on canvas 50x50cm Niamh Cunningham/倪芙瑞莲 2012
Week 8: Twin Song / 双生•歌 布面油画 50×50厘米 Niamh Cunningham/瑞莲 2012
Week 9: Praha Attic 50×50 oil on canvas Niamh Cunningham 倪芙瑞莲 2010
Week 10 : Little Dancer Oil on Canvas 50x50cm Niamh Cunningham
Week 11 : Reader in Red oil on canvas 50x50cm Niamh Cunningham/倪芙瑞莲 2011 朗读者•红 布面油画 50×50厘米 Niamh Cunningham/瑞莲 2011
Week12 Little Singer, 50x50cm oil on canvas Niamh Cunningham 倪芙瑞莲 2013
Week 13: Český Wednesday(TP) oil on canvas, 50x50cm Niamh Cunningham倪芙瑞莲 2010
Week 14: Explorer NW 50×50 oil on canvas Niamh Cunningham 倪芙瑞莲 2013
Week15 :Prayer to Nature CX 50×50 acrylic on canvas Niamh Cunningham 倪芙瑞莲2019
Week 16: Little Piano Man/小小钢琴家, Oil on canvas 50x50cm Niamh Cunningham
Week 16: Little Piano Man/小小钢琴家, Oil on canvas 50x50cm Niamh Cunningham 你芙瑞莲2013
Healer 治愈者/GC 50x50cm acrylic on canvas Niamh Cunningham
Week 17: Healer 治愈者/GC 50x50cm acrylic on canvas Niamh Cunningham 倪芙瑞莲2019
Daxing Memory oil on canvas 50x50cm Niamh Cunningham
Week 18: 大兴记忆Daxing Memory oil on canvas 50x50cm Niamh Cunningham/倪芙瑞莲 2018
Bachmann Girl, Acrylic on canvas , 100 x 100 cm Niamh Cunningham
Week 19 :Bachmann Girl 巴赫曼姑娘, Acrylic on canvas 布面丙烯, 100 x 100 cm Niamh Cunningham/倪芙瑞莲,2017

Week 20: Daxing Girl/大兴女孩 oil on canvas 50x50cm Niamh Cunningham/瑞莲 2015
Week 21: Molly Penelope FG , Acrylic on canvas , 50x50cm 2019 Niamh Cunningham /倪芙瑞莲

In the exhibition catalogue for ‘Odyssey the Return’ renowned curator Huang Du wrote about this portrait series.

……As an artist with an awareness of “destruction” and “reconstruction” in the context of contemporary art, Niamh Cunningham has created the “Wandering Rocks” a series which consists of 22 small portrait paintings, inspired by the rich and curious literary narrative in the eponymous Chapter 10 of ‘Ulysses’. She paints these portraits of people living in Beijing and Ireland (families, friends, students, artists, curators, etc.) in which they are reconfigured, their images are transformed, reshaped metaphorically into different ‘wandering’ rocks. The artist uses a method whereby she layers photographic images to create an ethereal effect like water ripples, a way of combining real and virtual elements to provoke a sense of surprise in the viewer.

Her paintings describe another way of interpreting the world. The images bear testimony to a real investigation into the way in which the living world actually exists. Rather than saying that she simply likes painting portraits, it is more accurate to describe these works as perceived thinking about the image itself and how to engage with cognizance which is habitual.

In fact, each piece of work is a combination of the artist’s lived experience, her brush painting and materiality bound together using technological pre-sets. She combines the artistic language of painting with today’s lived experience in order to create a unique and personal visual language.

This series of portraits embodies a range of experiences in its dynamic fragmentation, insubstantial images which evoke time, space, identity and memory. This fastidious way of painting is not merely a type of formal innovation, the creative process itself causes an actual disintegration of the painting’s subjectivity and internalizes this metaphysical rupture. In bringing together the perception of image and that of memory, a new image narrative which redefines the portrait, is created.

At the same time, the artist has endeavoured to transform the act of painting, distancing herself from the pursuit of the classical, while at the same time incorporating photographic elements. So, the cropped image instantly establishes the connection between the subject and the experience/awareness of language. She uses alternative painting methods to deconstruct the existing rules of artistic creation and establishes a real intersection of two creative worlds: the visual and the literary…….

Daxing Boy , portrait oil on canvas, 50x50cm Niamh Cunningham
Week 22: Daxing Boy , oil on canvas, 50x50cm Niamh Cunningham 倪芙瑞莲2014
Connoisseur.ESP, acrylic on canvas 50x50cm Niamh-Cunningham
Week 23: Connoisseur-ESP, acrylic on canvas 50x50cm Niamh-Cunningham倪芙瑞莲2019
 Scoop -TC portrait by Niamh Cunningham
Week 24: Scoop -TC oil on canvas 80x 60cm Niamh Cunningham/瑞莲 2010
Bruno Acrylic on canvas Niamh Cunningham
Week 25: Bruno Acrylic on canvas Niamh Cunningham 倪芙瑞莲2019
Eagle  acrylic on canvas 50 x50 cm Niamh Cunningham
Week 26: Eagle acrylic on canvas 50 x50 cm Niamh Cunningham倪芙 瑞莲2019
Paper Aficionado CF portrait by Niamh Cunningham
Week 27: Paper Aficionado CF 50x50acrylic on canvas Niamh Cunningham
Memory Palace Guli portrait by Niamh Cunningham
Week 28: Memory Palace G. 麦金尼斯女士 Guli 布面丙烯 50×50厘米 Niamh Cunningham/倪芙瑞莲 2019
Taishan Cable car CJ 50x50 acrylic on canvas Niamh Cunningham
Week 29: Taishan Cable car CJ 50×50 acrylic on canvas Niamh Cunningham 倪芙瑞莲2019
Emerge Duan Ni 80 x 120cm oil on canvas Niamh Cunningham
Week 30: Emerge Duan Ni 80 x 120cm oil on canvas Niamh Cunningham倪芙瑞莲 Cunningham 瑞莲2013
Woodblock Connoisseur CC acrylic Niamh Cunningham /倪芙瑞莲 2019
Week 31 Woodblock Connoisseur CC 100x100cm acrylic on canvas Niamh Cunningham /倪芙瑞莲 2019
Friend to Many CC 100x100cm acrylic on canvas , Niamh Cunningham 倪芙 2019
Week 32: Friend to Many CC 100x100cm acrylic on canvas , Niamh Cunningham 倪芙瑞莲2019
Week 33: Ally Eddie 50×50 acrylic on canvas Niamh Cunningham 倪芙瑞莲2019
 3 boys acrylic on canvas , 60 x50cm (2010) Niamh Cunningham
Week 34: 3 boys acrylic on canvas , 60 x50cm (2010) Niamh Cunningham/倪芙瑞莲
Youth in Yellow , 50x50cm , oil on canvas , Niamh Cunningham
Week 35: Youth in Yellow , 50x50cm , oil on canvas , Niamh Cunningham 倪芙瑞莲2018
Singing Nomad . BH , oil on canvas , Niamh Cunningham
Week 36: Singing Nomad . BH , oil on canvas , Niamh Cunningham 倪芙瑞莲,2010
Week 37: Irish Boy -in Pink, 50x50cm Oil on Canvas Niamh Cunningham/倪芙瑞莲 2018

Week 39 A New Century EL 100x100cm acrylic on canvas Niamh Cunningham 倪芙瑞莲 2019
Week 39: Vital Spark GL acrylic on canvass 100x100cm Niamh Cunningham 倪芙瑞莲 2019
Week 40 In Her Eyes , 100x100cm acrylic on canvas, Niamh Cunningham 倪芙瑞莲 2019
Purple Rain LX 倪芙瑞莲Niamh Cunningham 2019
Week 41: Purple Rain LX 50x50cm 倪芙瑞莲Niamh Cunningham 2019
 Goosegog CC 50x50cm Niamh Cunningham 倪芙瑞莲 2019
Week 42 Goosegog CC 50x50cm Niamh Cunningham 倪芙瑞莲 2019
Mamo Greenfingers , 50x50 cm Niamh Cunningham
Week 43 Mamo Greenfingers , 50×50 cm Niamh Cunningham 倪芙瑞莲2019
 Ferryman.DC acrylic on cnavas 50x50cm Niamh Cunningham
Week 44 Ferryman.DC acrylic on cnavas 50x50cm Niamh Cunningham 倪芙瑞莲 2019
Bus Boy acrylic on canvas 50x50 Niamh Cunningham
week 45. Bus Boy acrylic on canvas 50×50 Niamh Cunningham 倪芙瑞莲
 I am a Rock 50 x 50cm Niamh Cunningham 倪芙瑞莲 2019
Week 46 I am a Rock 50 x 50cm Niamh Cunningham 倪芙瑞莲 2019
Week 47. The Producer OC, acrylic on canvas 50x50cm 倪芙瑞莲Niamh Cunningham 2019
Origami Resting C&D, acrylic on canvas 50x50cm Niamh Cunningham
Week 48 Origami Resting C&D, acrylic on canvas 50x50cm Niamh Cunningham 倪芙瑞莲 2019 .
Week 49 :The Patron .SC : acrylic on canvas 50x50cm 倪芙瑞莲, Niamh Cunningham 2019
 Boiler NC , 50x50cm acrylic on canvas Niamh Cunningham
Week 50 Boiler NC , 50x50cm acrylic on canvas Niamh Cunningham 倪芙瑞莲2019
She.GZ 50x50 cm acrylic on canvas Niamh Cunningham
Week 51. She GZ 50×50 cm acrylic on canvas Niamh Cunningham 倪芙瑞莲2019
Week52 Letter to the President AK 50x50cm Niamh Cunningham 你芙瑞莲 2019

Ambassador Eoin O Leary and his wife Anne Delaney take a closer look
Ambassador Eoin O Leary and his wife Anne Delaney take a closer look at the “Wandering Rocks’ portrait series 爱尔兰驻华大使李修文先生(Eoin O Leary)和夫人邓兰音女士(Anne Delaney)仔细观看“游岩”肖像系列 April 2019 Dong Yue Art Museum
Larger portraits showing at China -Ireland exhibition , Museu&m , Expo Park , November 2019
China Daily coverage of Odyssey – The Return April 2019
International Artists Indoor exhibition at Gobi Heaven Festival Woodblock Connoisseur (week31) and Friend to Many (week 32)
With prof Li Chen from the Irish Studies Centre at Beijing Foreign Studies University visits following a presentation talk which our team gave at the Uni April 2019
Praha Attic (week 9) and Daxing girl (week 20) at Granary Art Centre Sishui, Shandong, May 2019
Bruno (week 25) and Healer ( week 17) at the Granary Art Centre Sishui, Shandong May 2019
RTE (Irelands National broadcaster ) visited my studio to look at the portraits in April 2019

A sincere thank you to all of you who supported the portrait series this year including RTE and Yvonne Murray for media coverage in March, Dong Yue Art Museum and Mr Yuan Qiu Lai, the fellow artists of our collective ‘the North Gate Project’ Fion Gunn and Gulistan, Curator Huang Du , The Embassy of Ireland in Beijing and Ambassador Eoin O Leary, the Granary Art Centre Sishui, Shandong and artist/curator Tie Xin, curator Susanne Matz , curator Chang Feng , curator Ma Yiying Museu&m Expo Park Shanghai and curator Lulu , organiser Maggie Xu, Sun Liping and the Shanghai International Cultural Association, and to collectors in China and abroad.

A 2 minute clip from RTE news broadcast in March 2019