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Lot Essay

Straddling the boundaries of Realism, Surrealism and Expressionism, Devine has infused the portrait with a mysterious pulse that resonates beyond the canvas. Reading from left to right, Vicky Phelan's narrative is conveyed as past, present and future acted out on Doonbeg beach in the west of Ireland. The left-hand panel is dominated by a powerful assemblage of equine flesh and bone whose forward motion is suddenly halted. The centre panel dominates. Here the sitter engages directly with the viewer. Events, both joyful and traumatic are rendered symbolically. Her outstretched right hand supports a bird, a young crimson rosella, representative of her daughter; on her left hand, her son as a sapling oak. Beneath her left foot, a colonnade represents a legal triumph while shamrocks close to her heart are emblematic of the continuous support she has received from the people of Ireland and beyond. Within her torso, invisible cancer is made visible. Her eyes are bright with strength and hope. In the right-hand panel a horse is looking backwards, a collage of powerfully charged symbols is placed between its hind legs and forelegs. A flickering candle reminds the viewer of the fragility of life itself. Indented into the sands beneath, Vicky Phelan’s footsteps leave the canvas. PGFS

For Auction at 2:00pm GMT on Thursday 4th February 2021.

Lot description
Acrylic on canvas
Each panel: 150 x 100 cms.
Signed and dated verso

Donated by the artist, Tullamore

To benefit: Hereos Aid, CRA No. 20206004

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