The landscape of Ireland, noted for its green colour and its frequent rain, might not be the place where one would naturally look for parallels to a volcanic landscape. Yet it is from Ireland, and with decades of exploration of light in its many forms, that Carmel Mooney’s work links the dry, arid landscapes we associate with volcanoes, to the ever-changing light through the clouds of the west of Ireland.
Mooney’s largest and most dramatic later paintings capture the power of a volcanic eruption – the intensity of the lava flow and the threat of the plume of ash and smoke from Mount Etna. The jagged edges of the dormant volcano, with minerals trapped in the rock, are a link back to her earlier work in the fields and cloud patterns of her native country. Her exploration of the colour through the medium of glass in the furnaces of Murano, Venice, has resulted in unique images of birds, and latterly, of the historic Irish sheel-na-gigs, mysterious female symbols from many centuries ago.
Mooney’s work has received critical acclaim both at home and abroad: she has represented Ireland in with invited exhibitions in Italy (Rome, Venice), Brussels, China, Hong Kong, and London. Her work is represented in national and international collections. She continues to work and to collaborate with artists in other media, including musicians. Three books details the evolution of her work (A Sense of Space, From the Dark Earth, and That Space Between (all published by Gandon Publications, Cork).