59
59
Rita Duffy
BELFAST MOTHERS
Estimate
8,00012,000
LOT SOLD. 11,250 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
59
Rita Duffy
BELFAST MOTHERS
Estimate
8,00012,000
LOT SOLD. 11,250 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Irish Art

|
London

Rita Duffy
B.1959
BELFAST MOTHERS
signed l.r.: Rita Duffy; also signed, dated 1984 and inscribed on the reverse: The Mothers done/ in Eblana Street. Belfast.; further signed, titled and dated on a label attached to the reverse
oil on panel
67.5 by 56.5cm., 26½ by 22¼in.
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Catalogue Note

All of my work springs from a personal experience. That intimate quiet; whether its terror or love, whether its fearful experience or joyful ones. That kind of intimate engagement; and that kind of public, national experience. I like moving between those spaces because I am curious about my own identity and what is this notion of nationality anyway?’ (Rita Duffy, in The Souvenir Shop (2016), p.19).

Rich in narrative and autobiographical detail, Rita Duffy’s work has a stark honesty - compelling and confrontational. In the wilful distortions of her characters, at times grotesque, and the abundance of (un-prettified) flesh and political content, her paintings recall Otto Dix or George Grosz in inter-war Germany, or indeed Stanley Spencer in early 20th century Britain. But of course Duffy’s work is a response to her own time: growing up in Belfast, the daughter of a Northern father and Southern mother, she developed a sharpened response to the complexities of the issues at stake which plays out in her work, exposing many of the absurdities with incision and humour.

Of the present painting, Duffy comments how it is a distillation of several memories and her experience of school through the 1970s on the Falls Road. The corrugated fence is a police barricade, which bisected Violet Street and cast an ominous shadow over the houses. It was a time of continuous unrest and violent turmoil, and in the present work the matriachs hold the children with large protective arms. It is these women who endure and navigate their way through the hardships. In the corner of the window, a model flamenco dancer evokes dreams of a foreign holiday. 

As an intensely autobiographical artist, Duffy has made a vital contribution to the role and challenges of women living in this period, reflecting many of her own experiences and speaking of wider truths. It is a significant early work, made the same year as her MA at the University of Ulster, and emphatically reveals the major contribution her career would make to contemporary Irish art and her place as one of its leading figurative painters.  

Irish Art

|
London