HOME: Sinead Ní Mhaonaigh

In Sinead Ni Mhaonaigh’s large painting Teorainn no.6, the artist depicts a barn-like structure, delineated in bright red brushstrokes and black outlines, against a field of wavering horizontal stripes in alternating green and grey.

The structure is wheeled, sitting atop a flat plinth and an underlying ground of black pigment. Flecks of orange and brown hover in the air, and the juxtaposition of expressive marks and geometric patterning lends the composition an uneasy tension. The artist’s marks are rough and gestural; the peaked roof of the edifice is a sparse composite of diagonal lines, wheels are hurried loops, the earth a dark smudge of undiluted paint. The image seems almost restless, vibrating in anticipation of a sudden movement. 

The title, which is translated from the Irish as boundary or border, infers a sense of stability which is belied by the implied mobility of the building. Ni Mhaonaigh often portrays such vessels and structures in her work and, here, the open-ended lines and the absence of her usual bordered edges, implies a sense of unhindered freedom. Home, then, is not necessarily a fixed location but a state of being, an ability to locate and ground oneself, and, when deemed desirable, to pick up and move on again.