The Counihan Connection
Counihan Gallery, Brunswick
2009

A group of contemporary artists were invited to research and respond to a work of Noel Counihan. My piece, titled "Family Circle" responded to Counihan's portrait "Florentine Girl".

 

In looking through Noel’s work I found myself relating to his softer portraits, especially of women, and gained an appreciation of how important the study of anatomy and the face were to him. It was his interest in the way internal feeling registered on the face that saw him practice his craft religiously, traveling the world and sketching myriad faces of the working classes. Some of his portraits are represented on the exterior of the dome, which pays homage to the curved roofs Counihan would have seen in Italy during his 1956 journey to study the works of the Old Masters.

A series of arches symbolize the ‘support’ given by the family and the strength of character of his wife Pat. Fragments taken from letters written by Noel as he traveled abroad in 1949-50 and 1956 feature on the underside of the dome and are reflected in the mirrored surface below. Pat supported the family with her income from teaching as she brought up 2 young boys and endured long separations from Noel as he pursued his artistic career overseas – an acknowledgement of the rock-solid foundations on which Noel’s art was built.

 

Images used in artwork reproduced with permission of The Counihan Estate.

Overall piece with Noel Counihan's "Florentine Girl

Kristin McFarlane © 2017