Keating’s portfolio on the construction of the Shannon and Poulaphouca hydro-electric projects from the late 1920’s and 30’s captured the majesty and scale of those ground-breaking energy developments.
At Bellanaboy in North Mayo, the largest energy infrastructure development in the history of the State had been under construction since 2006. This project surely deserved to be recorded in a manner similar to Sean Keating’s portfolio from the Ardnacrusha Hydro Electric Scheme.
And so the search for an artist who would capture the Corrib project on canvas began. For an engineering company like Shell Ireland, the artist selection process was remarkably unscientific. We were looking for a fulltime artist with a figurative style and a portfolio of previous work we admired. She/he must have an appreciation for the natural environment and, if possible have some connection to Mayo.
Richard Hearns, a young recognised artist establishing himself both at home and abroad met all these criteria. Born in Beirut in 1980 and raised in Dublin, Richard Hearns studied Fine Art - Interdisciplinary Digital Media and Art Craft and Design Education in IADT and NCAD respectively.
Richard derived much of his early inspiration from the 16th and 17th century old masters such as Rembrandt and Velasquez. His work has a strong design focus and painterly quality while his subject matter ranges from landscapes in the rural environment, to still life and the human figure. He works primarily with oils and uses a limited colour palette.
Richard began working on his Corrib commission in mid-2013. His brief was not constrained and the choice of subject matter was left up to the artist himself. His working style involved numerous site visits for observation / sketching / photography, during which Richard met and talked to the workforce and gained a technical understanding of the complexity of Corrib.
Over the following 18 months, he produced two large canvases and fifteen smaller paintings, some painted on location and others at his studio in the Burren. A selection of Richard Hearns Corrib gas project’s portfolio is included in this gallery.