Interview: David Mc Glynn
Luca Curci talks with David Mc Glynn during THE EXTENDED BODY 2020 at THE LINE Contemporary Art Space.
David Mc Glynn is an artist who makes bronze and mixed media sculptures that have a passion for the human figure, our relationship to Nature and the journey of life. His work explores and responds to these themes in a playful and innovative way while often displaying poetic and humorous qualities. He studied at the National college of Art and Design in Dublin, graduating in 1993 with a BA in Fine Art Sculpture. While attending the college he developed a fascination for bronze casting. He later went on to study Foundry Engineering and Bronze casting at the Belfast metropolitan college. His work has been exhibited at the Royal Ulster Academy in Belfast, Sculpture in Context at the Botanic Gardens,The Kildare Gallery, Carton House, Gormleys Fine Art and the RDS Artsource annual show. David Mc Glynn’s sculptures are featured in the private collections of Dermot Desmond, Financier and Bono and the public collection of the Office of Public works, Dublin. Having been awarded a residency in Finland by the Keuruu Art Museum, he fell in love with the natural beauty there and later went on to live in Helsinki for three years. He currently enjoys living near the sea in Bray, County Wicklow, which is a constant source of inspiration and works from his studio nearby in Enniskerry.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
David Mc Glynn – Art for me is a magical means of communication. It’s a process of exploring the inner world of mySelf and the world around me. It’s a creative journey, often with a specific goal in mind but sometimes this goal or idea changes along the way. There is an element of chance involved where I am listening to my instinct as opposed to my intellect.
LC – Which art themes do you pursue? What is your preferred subject, if there is any?
DMG – There are a variety of themes which I enjoy exploring, from our relationship with Nature and Each other, the creative act or process itself and childhood joys. One which I return regularly to is the theme of the human Spirit or that which in essence connects us all on a very deep level and elevates us out of the dull habits of the everyday ‘normal’ life . In recent years I have allowed myself to explore these themes with a sense of fun and even humour, since this quality is part of my true nature. It is often underestimated but humour can be a powerful element in a piece of art.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
DMG – I get a lot of inspiration from observing life. Not just people going about their daily lives but our relationship to Nature and how we connect to it. I live beside the sea and it has been a wonderful source of inspiration for me from children playing on the beach to timeless moments at dawn when the sun is rising and this is where the sculpture titled “Horizon” was first conceived. When I’m in places like that, my mind clears and I feel a sense of connection with Life. “Horizon” tries to convey and communicate that experience. I emphasize the word experience here since it is the direct experience of Life and Nature and not my thoughts about nature that I wish to share with others. I also love using humour in my work. I feel it’s a powerful tool and it’s also a lot of fun! A sense of play and fun increases my enjoyment of the journey of making sculpture which is actually quite a long process, particularly in bronze. In that atmosphere of play ideas seem to flow more easily and effortlessly. Ideas that I may never have thought of or explored before. It feels like an adventure into the unknown, I want it to take me to places I have not been before, ideas I have not seen before (as opposed to playing safe, in my comfort zone with the known). In this way it keeps things fresh and vital.
LC – What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
DMG – I grew up in a big family, five sisters and one brother and I think it was my father that influenced me most in terms of creativity. He seemed to be able to apply himself to anything weather it be making toys for me, or making sets for the amature dramatics Club my mother was involved with. I guess I was most influenced and awed by how my father Could make things with his hands. It was a magical quality for me.
LC – Did your style change over the years ?
DMG – Yes, it evolved in the sense that it used to be very dreamy. I used to paint mainly from my imagination and this was fine for a while but I began to feel like it wasn’t enough. I longed to connect to real life more and this occurred through being able to draw, paint and sculpt from life. I wanted to have a balance of observation and imagination. While being able to paint and draw from life is wonderful, I still felt that the use of my imagination would allow the piece to grow, develop and evolve without me trying to control all aspects of the creative process. By keeping an open mind as to what can happen allowed for surprises to occur. For me this is where the Magic is. At a certain point, it’s almost as if I let go of control and something else does it. That’s my experience anyway .
LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this exhibition? How is it connected to the theme of the entire festival ?
DMG – The pieces I have on show in the exhibition all have an element or reference to the human figure and in particular, aspects of ourselves that are hidden or that have become hidden. For me, the “Hidden aspects of ourselves” is the true inner Self. That which is common to us all . I’m not referring to the personality here, the latin word ‘persona’ means ‘Mask’. The piece titled “Horizon”, as mentioned earlier, is concerned with expressing the Freedom of the human Mind/Spirit when unified or joined with Nature. When this occurs it reveals the hidden aspect of our true selves. In the piece titled “Flight of the Imagination”, I explore creativity. Something which is common to us all (all children are creative) but is often hidden, covered or lost, through what we call ‘Education’. In the sculpture titled “Window of the Soul” there is the element of space, a house, a window and a book in the window referring to the presence of a person reading but they are hidden. The viewer fills in the missing parts. In “Sunflowers” the theme of joy of life is expressed. As people we all remember the childhood experience of pure joy. It’s a sense of lightness and happiness in the heart. For me, the hidden self within is the source of that joy and something that needs to be expressed. In the sculpture titled “Executive Knight Out” there is the element of protection (the armor). It’s protecting that which is vulnerable. There is an obvious humorous element to this since to really enjoy life, one must remove one’s armor (defences). Lastly, in the piece titled “Sunnyside Up”, you can see a column of fried eggs yet upon closer observation of the first egg on the top there are two profiles of faces. Their identities are unknown. Two people meeting over breakfast? I have enjoyed exploring and expressing the hidden parts of ourselves in these sculptures and am delighted to take part in this amazing gathering of artists from all over the world.
LC – What are you currently working on?
DMG – I like to work on several sculptures at once. One of these pieces is based on the idea of a doorway or entrance. The kind you might see in a garden that’s made of a climbing plant in the shape of an archway. It symbolizes a doorway to life,a magical entrance that takes you into a realm or dimension where there are unlimited possibilities. I am also engaged in doing several commissions at the moment that focus on something personal that is meaningful to the client. These will be cast in bronze and may have other materials also.
LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP?
DMG – This is my first exhibition with Itsliquid Group. I am impressed by the level of organising and professionalism involved. It offers a unique opportunity to artists to exhibit and expose their work to new audiences around the world that we wouldn’t normally have access to. The fact that the exhibition is composed of many different disciplines in art from sculpture, painting and performance art, makes for a very diverse and exciting exhibition. I have not been through the entire exhibition process yet so its difficult to make suggestions at this point in time. Exposing artwork to collectors, agents and galleries as well as to other artists is very important to the success of the exhibition. Thank you for your time and patience in organising this exhibition!