Although highly acclaimed in critical and artistic circles, the work of the Irish painter Patrick Swift has rarely been publicly exhibited in Ireland since his few early shows in the 1950s. At that time his place in the pantheon of Irish art seemed certain. The art critic of the Irish Times noted the merciless scrutiny of his style, and the way he drew from his subjects some sort of tension which is the property of their existence.
Swift moved to London, and became editor of the literary magazine X, which published articles by, and reviews of such figures as Giacommetti and Francis Bacon. He was a respected literary figure himself, yet painting always called to him. The vogue at the end of the 50s for abstract painting was not to his taste, nor could he work with academic realism. He sought an expression of life and human creativity which was meaningful and accessible, yet intensely personal, and inspired by emotion, by landscape. It seemed Ireland and England restricted him. Swift emigrated to Portugal in 1962. He later set up a pottery in the Algarve, whose part in the revival of the regional craft has been recognised. Here Swift made a huge contribution to the popularisation of the Algarve, and to the recognition of the beauty of Portugal's landscape, history and culture. He virtually ceased showing his paintings, and the 1993 IMMA retrospective was a late reminder of Swift's significance as an Irish painter.
This new exhibition, opening on 5 April, will include many Algarve works never previously seen in Ireland. These are some of his most resonant works, where he has found his voice, and in the invigorating new climate the change in his painting was towards an enhanced sensuous warmth, a sense of the integrity of light and a feeling of the integration with nature, of painter and viewer (Richard Morphet, keeper, Tate Britain)
The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue.
Further information from Dawn Williams, Exhibition Officer 021 4273377
The gallery is open Monday to Saturday, 10 to 5.
Free admission and full wheelchair access.