Brighid “Biddy” McLaughlin (1961 – 3000)
“Brighid “Biddy” McLaughlin has been a story teller all her life. Born in Dublin, she is a self taught artist who lives in Dalkey, the beautiful seaside village in south County Dublin. She works in her traditional cottage overlooking Dalkey Island and the sometimes treacherous stretch of water known as Dalkey Sound, where she fishes and rows her boat. She paints in a truly naïve, folk style and her works depict Irish life and character as it was and is. In her painting she captures the tales of common and not so common folk caught up in the maelstrom of life.
She has exhibited throughout Ireland;
The Leinster Gallery, South Frederick Street, Dublin 1.
The Dalkey Arts Gallery, Dalkey, CountyDublin.
The John Hurley Gallery, Tralee, County Kerry.
The Mc Bride Gallery, Killarney, County Kerry.
Her work is in the Collections of:
Blackrock Hospice, Blackrock, County Dublin.
St. Vincent’s Hospital, Elm Park Road, Dublin 1.
“Naive Art is informal untutored art without imposed education. Naive artists are children at heart and they seek to touch the most basic of human needs – love, companionship, humour and adventure by childlike expression. The widely acknowledged international artist Michael Johnson said of Biddy’s art that “she will be one of Ireland’s great naive interpretive painters. Typical of Biddy’s unique style is the inversion of traditional tales where her animals are real but her people children. So through the innocent eye of childhood our world can be reborn every day.
”The best storytelling always involves danger and suspense. Biddy doesn’t avoid danger. Dark elements often threaten and sometimes seem overwhelming but love of life wins through. In the “Kingdom of Innocence” good always triumphs over evil.
”More than anything Biddy’s art is essentially about humour. Some years ago while walking down Ballybunion beach; a great artist of our time asked Biddy to refrains in mid-sentence from telling a story. He had, he said a stitch in his gut from laughing. “You know sometimes Brighid he cried, “Some people soar with the larks and wallow with the pigs, you soar with the pigs and wallow with the larks – pigs being endearing creatures of course!”
- John B Keane – Writer
“Quick and alive to events that frame our lives, responsive to love, and to rituals that bind people together, the paintings of Brighid ‘Biddy’ Mc Laughlin are, at first glance, evocations of a world of blue skies, bright flowers and sparkling sea. However, beneath the surface, her images also speak of loss, and of danger. A blue sea is transformed by giant waves into an ocean of peril, with sharp-toothed killer whales swimming just below the surface. In many of her paintings a sinister black island rears up in the background, while an enigmatic red fox trots unconcernedly across a landscape, or leaps from a rowing boat. Mc Laughlin’s style draws from the world heritage of folk art, a heritage stretching from Minnesota to the Ukraine, art that inspired Andy Warhol. But her paintings evoke also the contemporary dystopian television world of South Park, with its quirky anxiety-ridden characters. Wide-eyed with dismay, McLaughlin’s people drift in boats on restless seas; fearful of what life may bring, they clutch each other for support. Hopeful for the future, they pledge themselves to one another. These paintings are naïve, but they are also sophisticated, reminiscent of the early work of Mick Mulcahy. Perhaps the strongest part of their sophistication is their clarity: these paintings can be read as easily by a child, as by an adult.”
- Peter Murray, Director of the Crawford Gallery, Cork.