In an ongoing series of articles, critic and broadcaster Cristín Leach selects 21 artworks for RTÉ Culture that define Modern Ireland.

Number Thirteen: Ann Quinn - My Father’s Cows making their Way back down to the Burn Field after Milking Time (2013)

Ann Quinn paints stark, lucid landscapes infused with personal memories and frequently featuring cows, hens and sheep. This painting has a rhythm of its own: the idea of a long journey, a well-worn track, a daily farming-task, continuation in nature, and a very particular connection with the land. In Ireland, 1.2 million dairy cows produce six and a half billion litres of milk a year.

Inspired by her childhood in East Donegal, Quinn captures something of the repetitive comfort of quotidian, rural habit. There is always a certain edginess to her compositions. Here, the dream-like intensity of a close-cropped outdoor scene without sky is off-set by the dynamic zig zag of the cows' slow-trudging path as they skirt the fields.