KM Gavaghan - Artist Statement
Lured by a world of creative imagination since I was a child, I paint because it allows me to tell my story…it is a story of tourettes, anxiety, mental health, love, laughter, loss, anger, fear, lots of highs and lots of lows….and it is still being written.
My life is full of chapters and each chapter has various short stories. Short stories about attempted kidnappings, muggings, street brawls, run-ins with the law, a sexual assault, love and loss. A lot of stories about mental health. There is a chapter on religion, with some nun stories thrown in and another on Irish culture and depression. There is even a couple of chapters on the greatest of friendships, family and the best of times.
I have been bullied by people in power and found the greatest
support in unexpected places and people. I get angry at injustice and hate people who prey on the weak.
I cried with joy when my children were born, but at the same time I found real fear and vulnerability. My parents were good, hard working Irish immigrants.
I sat with my Dad when he asked the doctors for more time to see his grandchild being born.…that hurt. My daughter was born the day before my dad kissed her for the first, last time and then went to sleep, I am blessed to have that in my story.
I give my time sparingly as it is the most precious commodity I have. It’s easy to be kind. I have experienced the best and worst of life….
So, I paint because like me, everyone has their own painting to tell, everyone, like me, has spaces and gaps in their stories where good things should be but aren’t. I choose to tell my story and maybe people can see one of their stories, in one of my paintings.
I paint because when we go a little deeper we can see how similar we are.
London Irish artist Kevin Gavaghan is originally from North London and now works from his studio in Hertford. He is renowned for his brooding and evocative surreal figurative paintings.
Kevins paintings are an inner journey of self exploration into his life growing up from the 1970s in a large Irish family whilst coping with the complexity of life with Tourette’s and anxiety related illnesses.
His work largely reflects his thoughts, dreams and emotions that he has felt about his life and his position within the world as the son of Irish migrants. Kevin touches on some challenging subjects, such as growing up with Tourette’s and anxiety, religion and politics within the Irish community, relationships and the loss of loved ones as well the challenges we all face but hide from our public persona.
He paints emotionally and his images continue to develop throughout the process often changing their personality many times before settling on what he believes reflects a truth within his thoughts.
Kevin’s palette and application of bold vibrant colours dissect and bend his figures and portraits to the point of abstraction which, for Kevin, highlight inner emotions rather than the external likeness of his subject. His paintings directly confront the viewer with haunting sharpness and striking energy.