One of Ireland’s most important young artists.
- Micheal O’Driscoll, Managing Director, The Arab Irish Journal.
- Sheila Byrne (Curator) and John Dinan of Cong Art Gallery, Co. Mayo.
- Antoinette L. Sinclair, Oisin Gallery Curator
When Richard first approached Jorgensen Fine Art he spoke in his Artist Statement of a sort of ‘otherworldliness’ in both his life and his work. Certainly in his work we have come to recognize this quality. There is a stillness and meditiative tone which pervades both his still-lifes and his landscape.
A self-confident young man bien dans sa peau, he has a depth and sensitivity beyond his years.
Widely traveled both in Europe and the Far East, his broadened horizons influence his work. having exhibited in Ireland, New York and Thailand, his work has an international appeal which transcends continents and cultures.
We look forward to working with him into the future and following his future paths.
- Sile Connaughton-Denny, Art Historian and Curator. April 2013
Much of Richard Hearns’s work derives inspiration from his travels in Asia, North Africa, Canada, Europe and his native Ireland. Since he divides much of his time between Thailand and Ireland, the Fareast holds particular interest and is a recurrent subject for his work. Paintings of rural life are often executed with a palette of dusty browns, cobalt blues and brilliant yellows, communicating the sensual reality of the place and evoking the atmosphere, climate and rural culture with efficacy . In much of his work, there is a discernible sense of haste. His canvases are confident, highly textured, vigorous and devoid of any prissiness or affectation. They refuse to settle down, exhibiting a sense of urgency, a sense of being an excited dispatch from remote places. In contrast, his delicate observations of barefoot monks congregating for prayer, in robes of various shades of traditional dark brown to familiar brilliant saffron, present an altogether more spiritual experience. Nevertheless, each canvas is testimony to the artist’s insatiable appetite for visual stimuli and reveals the process of hyperactive free association out of which these tantalizing and enigmatic paintings are born.
- Antoinette L. Sinclair, Oisin Gallery Curator
Richard Hearns is a passionate artist who works tirelessly in the pursuit of
mastering his craft. He lives, works, thinks Art. It shapes his view of life and
gives him a sense of place and purpose.
He views painting as an honest craft that requires study, hard-work
and commitment. This work-ethic provides Richard with a solid platform to
express himself, his creativity, his thoughts and his feelings.
Richard’s energy and enthusiasm define him as a person and fuel his
insatiable pursuit of excellence. His landscape, still-life and figurative work
will continue to evolve as life, art and experience continue to shape his world.
- Jack Dinan, Former Director of Yap Brand Consultancy.
Richard Hearns was born in Beirut and was raised in Dublin. He now works between Ireland and Thailand. His paintings document a search for an idyll, driven by a deep spiritual sensibility. His experiences and connections with three separate locations and cultures are combined to form a triangular history. Meditative layers are applied in a physical expression of form, drawn from the discipline of martial arts and the rhythmic nature of oriental life. Behind the search for paradise through paint lie all the tender realities of life.
- Mark Redden, Artist, Sculpture and Traditional Boat Builder.
Excerpts from a Short Essay
by Miriam Duggan
‘…speak to us of Beauty.
And he answered:
‘…Beauty is not a need, but an ecstasy. It is not a mouth thirsting nor an empty hand outstretched.
Rather, it is a heart inflamed and a soul enchanted.’
The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
Art -Through it, the ephemeral becomes tangible, the distant is brought near and what appears to be spontaneous is, in fact, the result of deliberation and skill. Although realised in solitude, art is a dialectic – a chemistry between artist and viewer – which is at once deeply personal and universal.
As a very young boy, Richard Hearns remembers drawing his bedroom. Once finished, he was fascinated that his hands had translated a physical space into an idea on paper. Although he laughs as he recalls looking in wonder at the hand that achieved such a feat, it was a defining moment. From then on, it was through the medium of the visual that he sought to express himself and his understanding of the world around him.
Born in the Lebanon and raised in Ireland, Richard has spent much of his adult life travelling to the East. From his observation of Buddhist monks in Cambodia and later, through the practice of Martial Arts, he learned the importance of discipline, while living in south East Asia gave him the seclusion to reflect on his experiences and begin to form his vision.
All of these influences inform his work with a characteristic melange of cultural images. John O’Donoghue described landscape as the deepest meditation we can have and landscapes are an important feature of Richard’s work. But place is a fluid concept – a painting of a mountain is both familiar and strange, at once known and mysterious. In Home (2007), the hills are lush and verdant as after rain, the distant white cottage giving the painting a uniquely Irish feel. What makes the landscape mysterious, is the robed figure in the foreground, who, for all that he is exotic, nonetheless seems to belong. As we look at the hills over his shoulder, it is as though we are being asked to look at the familiar through fresh eyes, as though we were seeing it for the first time.
These figures are an important symbol in Richard’s painting. To him, they are like spirit guides or Everyman figures, reminding him and the viewer that all of the work of human hands involves spirit-struggle, growth and evolution. More importantly, their presence in some of his paintings is an exhortation to look again, to look differently, to go beyond the obvious.
One of his strongest features is Richard’s ability to capture light. In Vessel (2007), we see the silhouette of a fisherman with his boat in the last moments of full sun before it starts to set. The sunlight has made the water swollen, as though it were drenched with light and the fisherman seems to be enjoying a moment of quiet contemplation before getting on with finishing the work of the day. The beauty of Vessel comes from its deep evocation of a moment of stillness and ease with simplicity.
Richard describes his work as making a dream, trying to capture something elusive before it fades from his grasp. He first approaches a piece with the force of emotion and a physical power, believing that he needs to be both strong and disciplined in order to realise his ideas.
Sometimes a piece comes from the synchronicity of an idea and the materials available. An example of this is Pra Put (2005), a depiction of an elder monk on bamboo. On the border of Cambodia, Richard had nothing other than glue and ink when the painting came to him. ‘I had to capture that image, from the start, it just smiled back at me. I hadn’t got any of the materials that I needed, so I cut a piece from the wall of my hut. I wasn’t sure what I was trying to convey but I couldn’t stop.’ He still has no idea how it worked – he still believes it shouldn’t have – and yet it is one of his most profoundly moving works.
For Richard, painting is about connectivity, seeing beneath the humdrum and daily to the deeper realities which underpin our lives. His work is full of a sense that there is something more and it’s this fundamental belief that makes his work hopeful without being trite. Antoinette Sinclair describes him as having ‘an unfaltering enthusiasm for his subjects. He is resolutely optimistic.’ Mark Redden believes that he is ‘searching for an idyll’, while Richard himself describes each painting ‘as a fragment, a glimpse of something which might be beautiful’.
Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
But you are eternity and you are the mirror.
The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran