Award-winning artist unveils “warped” new show in Nottingham

Artist Damien McGinley at work
Artist Damien McGinley at work

An award-winning Nottingham-based artist is set to unveil his latest work at a new city-centre gallery which showcases art by established names as well as up and coming talents.

‘Kicking Tyres & Lighting Fires’, by Damien McGinley, is a collection of 20 mixed media works on canvas, which opens at the Hung Up gallery, on Derby Road, on Friday, August 18.

“The title of the show evokes imagery from a chaotic landscape and is reflective of the times we live in I suppose,” says Donegal-born McGinley, who has exhibited his work nationally and internationally since 1999.

“The kicking of tyres came from something a friend said at an exhibition once – “There was a lot of tyre kicking going on.”

“It’s what you do when you’re thinking about buying a car. At exhibitions you have people who are about to buy a piece and then drift off.

“Lighting fires is about lighting up the imagination a little bit. You’re picking an idea out of thin air and using it to capture the public’s imagination.”

Described by one curator as urban realism, McGinley’s works began as straightforwardly representational, before veering towards the abstract.

“There was nothing there that you couldn’t get from taking a photo,” he said. “So I started to distort them with vertical lines and sharp angles.

“Over the last ten years it has begun to move away from a rigid and regimented look and become warped, as though seen with a fish eye lense.

“The show is the culmination of ten years of developing a warped sensibility,” he said.

“I deliberately put in an element of abstraction to test the eye – the next time people see it they see something else. I think it is important to keep audiences on their toes.”

Born in Ireland, in 1977, McGinley studied art at Coventry University and the University of West England, before launching an impressive debut exhibition which led to him moving to Belgium.

As well as exhibitions in New York, Berlin, Paris and London, he has created the artwork for several novels in Poland, photo journals in Serbia, and album covers in the Netherlands.

McGinley has been an artist in residence in Germany and France, and has works in permanent collections worldwide, including the Irish State Art Collection, the Siena Art Institute, in Italy, and the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery in New York.

Along the way he has received Culture Ireland Exhibitions awards in 2008 and 2013, an Irish Embassy award in 2008, an English Arts Council Exhibitions award in 2013, as well as an In;Sight nomination in the UK in 2016.

The new show will combine pictures from the last decade as well as earlier work.

“I have been looking to do a solo project in Nottingham ever since I moved here five years ago,” McGinley said.

“I made contact with the Hung Up gallery at just the right time. I had talked to other galleries but this felt 100 per cent right.”

‘Kicking Tyres & Lighting Fires’, by Damien McGinley opens on Friday, August 18, and runs until Wednesday, September 6, at the Hung Up Gallery, 48 Derby Road.