Signed McGuane, at bottom left William English Bequest
Antonia McGuane, from Kilmallock, Co. Limerick, studied at the LSA and De Vriije Academy, The Hague. She participated in the Limerick EV+A show of 1982 before moving to Dublin. McGuane's practice is centred on drawing and her sense of community, and often focuses on the human figure, movement and musical themes, underpinned by a strong narrative. Much of her later work is characterised by bold, calligraphic flourishes, strong colours and gestural brushstrokes. She has lived and worked in Canada and Spain as well as Ireland, and currently divides her time between Barcelona and Toronto. McGuane’s sense of community has led her to identify with groups in Nova Scotia, and Spain such as The Castellers de Ville de Gracias, whose century-old, human castle-building performance traditions she has documented and recorded through her own drawing practice. Commenting on her time at Jiwar in Barcelona in 2017, McGuane said, ‘I knew that Jiwar was all about neighbourhood and held a philosophy of life that was consistent with neighbourhood values and bridging experiences.’ It was at Jiwar that she and the other artists-in-residence were invited to attend the rehearsals of Gracia Castellers which she described as one of the most typical performances of Catalan culture and which had a big impact on her work. McGuane has volunteered as an artist with many non-profit organizations such as Clowns for Haiti, Dublin; Grandma’s, an organization that offered help to families affected by HIV/AIDS and gave art workshops for children in Nepal, as a support for a Dublin charity group. She has been a resident at The Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig; 2 Rooms Contemporary Art Projects in Duntara, Newfoundland, Canada; and Fundacion Valparaiso, Mojacar, Jiwar Creation & Society, Barcelona, and Can Serrat, El Bruc, Barcelona. This early landscape was painted between Crusheen and Gort in County Clare when the artist was still in her early twenties. It is still and reflective in contrast with the dynamic movement she embraced later in her career. Here, the work is underpinned by her familiarity with the Irish setting, and McGuane deftly conveys a deep connection to nature that would carry through to later work in Canada.