Michael Gurhy graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2009 with an MA in Fine Art. His most recent exhibitions include The 2016 Bow Open Show Selected by painter Anj Smith (Hauser & Wirth), On Transience, Solo Exhibition of new works at The Hackney Picturehouse, and Vanquished by Love, a crowd funded Solo Exhibition at The Upstairs Tea Room in Maison Bertaux, London’s Oldest patisserie on Greek Street, Soho. Michael became the first recipient of the €5000 Crawford Open Artist Award selected from over 750 applicants by Francis Morris and Enrique Juncosa (Head of Collections (International Art), Tate Modern, and Enrique Juncosa, Director, Irish Museum of Modern Art) both agreed that Michael Gurhy’s work “ is small-scale work but potent in terms of emotion. His work addresses youth culture but evokes a knowledge of the unforeseen, of premonition” Prizes and awards received include The Installation/video award from the Cork Film Centre. The UCC Purchase Prize selected by the Glucksman Gallery for the University College Cork Collection and the Arts Festival Prize award given by the Cork Institute of Technology. This year Michael’s print The Language of Lagomorphs was selected by the Nunnery Gallery as part of its 20 Prints for 20 Years, a limited edition series of prints from Bow Arts artists.
My artwork primarily focuses on the figure, psychological portraits constructed from both fantasy and memory are then further informed by tear out pages of glossy high fashion magazines. The male figure within the work seems to challenge traditional images of male beauty that use strength and power as currency, these subjects are often passive, even tearful capturing some kind of inward battle or melancholia. Adorned in piercings and marked by symbolic tattoos and thick bodily hair, these features evoke the artists early experiences of masculinity and vulnerability. In opposition the female figures gaze seem more deliberate, bold and suggests a knowing or sense of premunition. Recurring themes within the work include vulnerability, mortality, sexuality, the uncanny and the transcendental. Animals such as deers, birds, foxes and wolves become symbolic messengers. There is a sacred/celestial component within the work that is both gentle and violent, destruction is linked with creation exorcising the old and paving the way for new cycles.