Philip Flanagan’s work engages with a central discourse in western art, generally known as the classical tradition. The technical fluency necessary to enable an effective contribution to this great heritage was acquired through the disciplined methods of tuition in Camberwell Art College, which he attended between 1982 - 1985.
In his sculpture and his painting, Flanagan explores both empirical and conceptual space, to create a synthesis of form and content that points to realities underlying surface appearance. This synthesis is achieved in his painting by a paring away of content to produce structures of simplicity and purity, distilled from the chaotic complexity of the everyday world.
In his sculpture, the same goal is achieved by uncovering the deep nature of people portrayed, through an exploration of physiological characteristics. Both paintings and sculpture are necessarily situated in his own time and place, a key element of which has been places and people connected to County Fermanagh.
We are privileged to have six of the sculpted heads, part of a larger collection of twenty-two portraits which formed, with audio recordings of the subjects, the exhibition Bronze Voices which toured, between 1996 and 1999, The RHA in Dublin, Fermanagh County Museum, Sligo Art Gallery, Firkin Crane in Cork, The Tower Museum in Derry, The Ulster History Park in Omagh, The Magill Festival in Glenties and The American Ambassador’s Residence, Phoenix Park, Dublin. Two years later it was shown at The Verbal Arts Centre in Derry.
The heads shown, without audio, here at Castle Coole are:
Michael D Higgins
Aideen Gore Booth
T.P. Flanagan (his father, the celebrated painter)
The O’Conor Don