Patrick O’Rourke, Charcoal Drawing
B.A (hons) Fine Art
Second class honors: first division
Since graduating from Staffordshire University in 2005, my practice has focused on themes of urban life, domesticity, place and memory. I have sought to communicate a narrative of what I believe to be the shared experience between my subject and my viewer. From depicting the traces of life that I observe, I have developed a contextual setting that my viewer can relate to. More recently I have become actively involved in work which relates to the socially excluded. My current work has attempted to make to convey the reality of the struggle of individuals in the modern social climate. From young refugees in Australia to portraits dealing with the closure of womens’ shelters, I wish to convey a feeling of life as it is for the many, for the other and the excluded.
While exploring these themes, I have principally worked in charcoal, as it is the medium which lends itself to the subject matter. I am attracted to the honesty of drawing with charcoal. The use of dark tones reflects the themes, and the rubbing out of lines and blending of details echoes the feeling of a life which is passing us by.
To echo the subject, the canvasses I use are abandoned objects, parts of life we have discarded. Items such as broken plasterboard have been used to depict a crumbling relationship, old kitchen cupboard doors have helped to portray a wife constrained to a domestic life .All of these items that have served as surfaces for my work are free and readily available.
My work has, at times, moved away from the studio and tried to occupy the settings that are depicted within my drawings. By drawing onto walls of bars, sitting rooms and even the side of abandoned houses, I want to recreate lives that were lived within these empty domiciles to show what was (or perhaps could have been) left behind, the traces of lives and the echos of those who lived there. These drawings are designed to confront the viewer with a familiar and, at times, an uncomfortable world of everyday life in the very rooms and spaces that inspired it. While these images are fixed, factors such as environment, peoples’ interaction and exposure to the elements help to change and allow the artwork to evolve over time.
All images copyright the artist.