A visit to the home of Kilkenny-born artist Tony O'Malley on the eve of his 87th birthday.
Both the Crawford and Fenton Galleries in Cork are showing exhibitions of his art and Tony O'Malley's paintings are in demand around the world. Indeed some critics regard him as the finest Irish artist of his generation.
Tony O’Malley and his wife, fellow artist Jane Harris are about to celebrate their 27th wedding anniversary. They met in the thriving artistic community of Saint Ives in Cornwall, where O’Malley lived in the 60s and 70s. The couple moved to Ireland in the 1980s and they share a cottage and workspace in a Callan, County Kilkenny.
O’Malley began painting full time at the relatively late age of 35. Until then he had been a bank official in various parts of Ireland and painting privately. However tuberculosis forced his retirement from the bank and determined his life as an artist.
His stark style of landscape painting began when he lived in Cornwall. From this early abstract style his work developed into a spiritual, mystic style. Trips abroad brought vibrant tropical styles and textures to his work, however the Irish landscape comes most readily to O’Malley’s canvases.
1994 he was elected a Saoi of Aosdána for his singular and sustained distinction in the arts leading O’Malley to modestly comment
I’d a view of myself as an artist, not of a man of great achievement or anything like that, but as a workman.
An RTÉ News report by Colm Connolly broadcast on 18 September 2000.