Carmel Madigan
Irish Expressionist Landscape Painter Based in County Clare.

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For a general guide, see:
Postmodernist Art.
For late 20th century artworks,
see: Contemporary Art.

Carmel Madigan (b.1961)
Contemporary Irish Artist

If you want a visual shot of untamed nature to energize your senses or calm your nerves, take a close look at the expresssionist work of Carmel Madigan - who, incidentally, will be representing Ireland at this year's Florence Biennale.

Saturated with the colours, textures, light and movement of the Loophead Peninsula, mid-way between Dingle and the Cliffs of Moher, Madigan's paintings are an optical feast of nature in all its glory. From exotic summer blooms, to weather-beaten winter gardens; from calm rock pools and silken breezes to roaring surf and spray-soaked winds, her works resonate with the alternating delicacy and power of nature, on the edge of the Atlantic. (Note: For other modern painters based in Ireland, see: Contemporary Irish Artists. For the world's best, see: Top Contemporary Artists.)



Combining sumptuous colours - strong lemons, deep lavenders, crimsons, bronzes, spring greens and lots more in between - with a variety of textures, from thin washes to sculptured impasto, Madigan not only has a deep affinity for her subject matter but also a tangible sense of joy in her work.

I'm sure this explains a lot of her success to date. She loves what she paints and wants you to love it too. On her website she explains a lot of the background to her work, and even how to position and light her paintings for optimum effect. Personally, I find this enthusiasm totally infectious. I can't wait to see her next exhibition, and hear her talk about her work. This is beautiful visual art by an artist who cares about her customers. No wonder her paintings sell.



Born on the Loophead Peninsula, County Clare, the youngest of seven children, Madigan developed an early interest in colour and shape, drawing inspiration from the unstructured beauty of naturally formed rocks, caves and beaches, as well as the flowers and foliage of the family's fields and garden. After taking an honours degree in business from the University of Limerick, she worked in a number of different industries, before starting her own Graphic Design company.

After seven years of hard work, during which time she succeeded in establishing the company as a reputable partner for numerous national and international customers, Madigan transferred her attentions to fine art and a full-time career as an artist.


Now based at her studio at Ballyalla, Co Clare, she has enjoyed a number of successful solo and group exhibitions across Ireland, and her works are represented in a variety of collections, both in Ireland and overseas. Forthcoming engagements include a 2nd solo exhibition at Dromoland Castle, Co Clare, in November 2009, and her participation at the Florence Bienniale at Fortezza Da Basso, in December 2009. Her longer term plans include the establishment of a summer art gallery, either on the North West Clare coast, or in Killarney.

Method of Work

Madigan's main painting medium is acrylics, often used in combination with inks, on a paper support. She works without prepared sketches, typically on a flat surface using copious amounts of water, sometimes allowing the painting to unfold as it will, according to the movement of paint and water. An avid explorer of differing textures, she often applies multiple layers of paint in a process which can take anything between 2-6 weeks to complete. When creating certain types of landscapes, hedgerows or flower-scapes, she uses a combination of washes, impasto palette knife-work, and vibrant colours in order to achieve a greater sense of energy.

As well as her regular paintings, Madigan also produces a range of mixed media collages, in which the materials are embedded in heavy impasto paint. By using differing combinations of materials - such as hand-dyed yarns, Japanese papers, hand-rolled paper beads cut from comic strips, sand, painted buttons, fragments of heavy watercolour paper for rock effects, as well as a host of 'found' items - she conjures up heavily textured environments, depicting carved rocks and stony beaches, and other subjects.

Careful to preserve her innate independence, itself a reflection of the wild environment she seeks to present, Madigan strives not to be influenced by other artists, although she admits a liking for the work of Donald Teskey and John Kingerlee, and their individual representation of the natural world.


A relatively prolific painter, Madigan has completed several series of works on themes as diverse as landscape, flowers, the sea, Zion National Park in Utah, Celtic jewellery and ancient China, as follows:

Remembering Flowers
In these visual reminiscences, Madigan recalls the family flower-garden as well as hours spent combing the fields and hedgerows in search of early Purple Orchid, Cuckoo Flower, Ragged Robin, Wild Iris, Birds Foot Trefoil, Buttercup, Montbretia, Purple Loosestrife, Meadowsweet, and Knapweed.

The Sea
This theme is represented in a range of works conveying the character, power and consequences of the ocean. Includes her highly successful "Ocean in the Garden" series, "Vigorous Ocean - Stubborn Rock" series, and "Ocean Whispers" series.

Chi Landscapes
This series evokes the natural movements of the elements - such as winds that drive the seas, ripple the rivers, or shape the rain, or the flowers that follow the sun or remain closed in it's absence.

The Emperors New Plans
A short but highly innovative series of fantasy paintings set in the ancient Eastern World ruled by "the Emperor", in which Madigan visually documents the Emperors architectural plans for defensive walls, palaces, gardens, waterfalls and sculpture.

Celtic Jewellery
An exquisite series portraying the decorative jewels of the Celts.

Mixed Media
This includes a variety of evocative and heavily textured "gardens", (eg. autumn, orange, Japanese, winter hedge and rock gardens).



Over the past five years, works by Carmel Madigan have appeared in both solo and group exhibitions, in numerous venues, including:

- K Gallery - Douglas, Cork City
- Lahinch Art Gallery, Co. Clare
- Artist In Residence - Barefield National School, Co. Clare

- Malton Hotel, Killarney (Solo)
- Dromoland Castle, Co. Clare (Solo)
- 'Random meets Freedom' Exhibition, Wexford Opera Festival
- Art Ireland - RDS Dublin

- Malton Hotel, Killarney
- Galway Art Fair - Radisson SAS Hotel Galway
- Cork Art Fair - City Hall Cork City
- Lahinch Art Gallery, Co. Clare
- Art Ireland - Spring Collection RDS Dublin

- Art Ireland - RDS Dublin
- 'Symphony Movements from The Edge', Lahinch Art Gallery, Co. Clare (Solo)
- Selected Exhibition, Greystones Arts Festival, Co. Wicklow
- Grupo Batik Art Exhibition, Sala Barna, Barcelona, Spain
- 'Forces of Nature Exhibition', Cockleshell Arts Gallery, Co. Wexford
- Hayfield Manor Hotel (Solo)

- 'Escape', Duane Gallery, Loughrea, Co. Galway (Solo)
- Selected Exhibition, Greystones Arts Festival, Co. Wicklow
- 'Art in the West' International Show, Leisureland Complex, Galway

- 'Tribal Banners' Juried Group Travelling Exhibition , Clare, Galway, Limerick
- 'Fragments & Formations', De Valera library, Ennis, Co Clare (Solo)


Paintings by Carmel Madigan are represented in corporate collections, including:

- Bank of Ireland - Corporate Art Collection Dublin
- Department of Defence
- Quality Hotel Limerick
- Invesco Ltd - Dublin
- Ross Hotel - Killarney
- Dromoland Castle - Co. Clare

Her works are also in private collections in Ireland, the UK, Spain and North America.

Further Information

To contact Carmel Madigan, or to see more of her beautiful art, I strongly recommend that you visit:

• For more about contemporary arts, see: Homepage.
• For details of famous painters and sculptors from Ireland, see Famous Irish Artists.

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