Mark Shields: The Inaccessible Land
The F.E. McWilliam Gallery and Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council is delighted to present new work by Mark Shields. The Inaccessible Land is Shields’ first solo show since Host, a series of ninety-nine large, figurative works exhibited in London in 2014. Born in Newtownards, Shields studied at the University of Ulster in the 1980s and soon came to prominence due to his technical proficiency.
His work has been selected for the National Portrait Gallery’s BP Portrait Award seven times and his portrait commissions have included Prince Charles, Rev. Ian Paisley and former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson. Despite these successes, Shields has continually pushed himself to embrace new challenges and to avoid formula.
The Inaccessible Land presents a number of distinct series that explore the tension between representation and abstraction. This shift towards abstraction is a bold and potentially startling move. The rationale lies in his conviction that as an artist one must ‘divest yourself of what you know’ and that meaningful art can only be produced through the struggle between the known and the unknown.