Art I LOVE Brian McGuire ‘Foundation Stones’

brian-maguire-Foundation Stones
brian-maguire-Foundation Stones

This painting moved me in a unerving way.  It is a painting by the Irish artist Brian McGuire, and I saw it at the Dublin Art Gallery a few years ago.

The experience is like looking through a long tunnel or corridor type room.  But it is the use of the green and yellow that conveys the feeling of an echo, fluttering like a moth, rebounding off the surface.  The eye has no easy resting place and darts round the picture, instead of taking the easy way out through the tunnel.  There’s a feeling of ‘waiting’: not exactly resignation.  In a sense you feel that these ‘people’ or presences are not really there – and – incidentally is there really a pathway down the corridor?  Is that a person sat in a chair? or indeed, a chair at all with a sheet draped over it?  There is a sense of past inhabitants, passing on, leaving only their ghosts essences behind.  A sort of limbo ensues.

This painting also has a voice.  It echoes down this corridor: one of many voices: snatches of imperceptible conversations all vying for attention.


A few years ago, when the Tate Modern had just opened, another life changing experience occurred, this time in the Francis Bacon gallery.  To see his paintings collectively is an almost psychic experience.  There is such a physical force emanating from these canvasses that is beyond paint.  It is alchemical, the sensation I would also liken to static electricity.

What do these painting have in common?


Frank Auerbach



The answer is not how realistically portrayed the ‘figurative’ or recognisable  the images are – but the immediacy, the direct personal contact and impact these paintings have with me.  But there are differences between these experiences.  Each ‘grabs’ but collectively, Bacon overwhelms.


4 thoughts on “Art I LOVE Brian McGuire ‘Foundation Stones’

  1. I’ve been researching two Irish artists, Paddy Graham and Brian McGuire. I made an art buying trip to Dublin, Ireland in 1983 and after having a meeting with the Minister of Art, finally found what I was looking for in these two artists. They, along with several other contemporary artists of the early 80s, gave me the art I was looking for in Ireland at the time. I have a McGuire that I call “Baby”, 1983. Based on my memory, Brian had just returned from a long trip to Northern Ireland and upon his return finished a baby portrait that he was commissioned. However, based on his experience in the North the painting was light years away from his ‘safe’ portraitue and the client, outraged, regected it. When I saw it sitting on a shelf above a doorway in his studio in the bus barn I knew I had to have it. The expression is one of uncontained angst; almost as if the baby is saying that his future will be full of obstacles that most people would never understand.

  2. This sounds a fascinating portrait Trudi! How lucky you are to own it too:-) I love art that moves – like Mcquire and Auerbach – paintings that reach out and actually converse with the viewer. We’ve only been to Dublin once, but I was most impressed by the art galleries – including the Hugh Lane. Though its admirable to be able paint realistically, I much admire that ‘extra’ which can be conveyed through the paint of non representable art. The artist is indeed a magician when he can converse on this level. Thanks for visiting and your interesting comments Trudi – its appreciated. This post was an early one – I have the format under control now (no huge writing :-))

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: