Frame 61

Lucienne O'Mara

Frame 61
Lucienne O'Mara

"Movement and fluidity are both important in the work; I want the different elements of the painting to be swimming in and out of each other, with a sense of freedom within the materials, and the feeling of something in flux"


Could you tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been a practicing artist and where did you study?

I grew up in South East London. I did my foundation at Camberwell Art School, and a BA in painting at City & Guilds Art School, graduating in 2011.

A year after graduating I took part in the Turps Banana Studio Programme, in which I shared a studio with 15 other painters in Bermondsey for a year, which was amazing. Since then I have been working in various studios around London.

Your paintings are made up of free flowing shapes and colours, full of movement and gesture. Could you tell us about these shapes?

Movement and fluidity are both important in the work; I want the different elements of the painting to be swimming in and out of each other, with a sense of freedom within the materials, and the feeling of something in flux.

The different types of mark and gesture sitting beside each other, clashing, or working in harmony, are representing all the opposing elements a person has within themselves, and how one's identity is this ever shifting indefinable movement of parts.

A Lively Look at Legs, 2016

June, 2016

What is your process, how do you begin on a new piece of work?

I start by making drawings from collected images. I refine these through drawing and redrawing, until it reaches a point of having just enough marks to hint at a narrative, and there’s a kind of tension between the marks and the space.

When I'm ready to move onto canvas I draw this on with charcoal. I work on the floor by pouring very fluid oil paint onto the unprimed canvas. This process means that i'm giving away a certain amount of control, and there’s a kind of battle between the material and me. From the charcoal drawing onward the painting is made by intuitively following the material, working quickly and instinctively from mark to mark.

What do you hope the viewer gains/reacts from looking at your work?

I want the viewer to get the sense of something deeply human from the work, like they are seeing a hidden fragment of a person.

There are points of detail that are there to draw you in, and hint at narrative, but I want the viewer to feel as though they are seeing something unique to them. The work isn’t there to tell you something; it’s more of a conversation, which hopefully is different every time.

I also hope they enjoy all the different textures and marks within the paint, as that’s a big part for me.

M. From S, 2016

Pouring, 2016

How do you go about naming your work?

For this series of paintings my source material is collected images from vintage men’s magazines. As the paintings become quite abstract the title is a useful tool to bring the work back to its source, I also like to bring a bit of humour into the title whenever possible. The titles come from playing with the names of the magazines or the caption that went with the image. The title for this series of work is ‘Sunset Strips & Stains’, Sunset Strips was the name of one of the magazines I referenced, ‘Stains’ is referencing the staining of the canvas, but also how I’ve come to view these marks as a kind of stain of the subject.

Tell us a bit about how you spend your day/studio routine, what is your studio like?

My studio is always a total mess so I usually start the day by making a very large coffee and cleaning up the mess I made the day before!

I generally spend the first hour or so looking at and trying to make sense of whatever I was last working on. After a days painting it gets hard to be objective about the work you’re making, so with fresh eyes in the morning is when I make important decisions.

I’ve always shared a studio until quite recently, and I love being able to have my own space, but I like to bring my dog to the studio to keep me company.

What artwork have you seen recently that has resonated with you?

I’ve been looking forward to seeing the Abstract Expressionist show at the RA, although I was disappointed that there was only one Helen Frankenthaler, its worth going just for that one painting. I have always been totally in love with her work and for some reason her paintings are rarely shown in the UK. The DeKoonings were also great, its funny when you’ve seen a painting reproduced so many times; when you first see it in the flesh it’s a totally different experience.

I also loved Aimee Parrott’s show at Breese Little, the memory, history, and the way her images kind of float within their space really stuck with me.

What does the future hold for you as an artist? Is there anything new and exciting in the pipeline you would like to tell us about?

I’ve just started an MA at City & Guilds, which is really exciting. So I’m pretty much focusing on that for the time being.

Artist's website

Publish date: 25/11/16
All images courtesy of the artist