Who Were Rory's Favourite Painters?

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Who Were Rory's Favourite Painters?

Postby SUBY1974 » 20 Mar 2016, 04:55

Rory liked to paint and draw. Who were his favourite painters? Which painters influenced him the most? Subrata.x
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Re: Who Were Rory's Favourite Painters?

Postby bronyr » 21 Mar 2016, 06:25

SUBY1974 wrote:Rory liked to paint and draw. Who were his favourite painters? Which painters influenced him the most? Subrata.x

I always wondered about the same thing, Subrata. Maybe we'll find out from Donal... :lol:
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Re: Who Were Rory's Favourite Painters?

Postby RobertaSparrow » 21 Mar 2016, 19:31

Well, I found one reference anyway, an interview with Donal from the Irish Examiner, from June 4, 2011. I believe there are also some references to this interview on the main site. In it Donal mentions Rory's interests in art, tangentially.

http://www.irishexaminer.com/rorygallagher/my-brothers-keeper-156734.html

[Donal] explains how he has come to be friends with the artist Frank Phelan. The night before Rory’s funeral, Donal dreamt that he was driving his brother somewhere. He dropped Rory off outside a large building, a palace. Rory went in, and Donal followed. “And I fell into a void. It was like a coma, I couldn’t get out of it. I was groping in the dark. There was a little pin light in the distance, so I went in that direction. And as I got closer, I saw what I can only describe as these massive holograms hanging down before me.”

Pushing his way through, Donal found Rory on the other side. He was among people who seemed to know him. He seemed well and happy. “I kept pleading with Rory to come back. I said, ‘everyone’s worried sick, this wasn’t supposed to happen’. But he kept saying, ‘no, this is where I want to be now, I’ve moved on’.

“So, when I sensed that he wasn’t coming back, I started crying. And he turned to me and said, ‘now you’ve blown it. Now they’ll know you’re not supposed to be here’.

“Then I woke, and the worst of it was, I had to get up and bury Rory.”

Donal could never forget the holograms he’d seen in his dream. Years later, he was working on Wheels Within Wheels. He commissioned the cover art from a painter named David Oxtoby, whom Rory had admired. Oxtoby had initially declined the commission, not wishing to have his work reduced to the size of a CD cover. When he changed his mind, Donal asked why. “And David explained that Rory had visited him in his bedroom at three in the morning.”[emphasis added]

The painting Oxtoby completed was more like a death mask than a portrait. “But the brief from Rory was, this is as I am,” says Donal. “So I went with it, knowing that the record company mightn’t get it. And that a lot of his fans mightn’t get it. I worried that I’d get hate mail, such as ‘the wrong brother died,’ which I did, as it happened.”

The night before the record company was scheduled to greenlight the cover, Donal says, he offered up a little prayer. “I said to Rory that a little sign wouldn’t go amiss.” The next morning, he went downstairs and got his mail. The first thing he opened was an invitation to an exhibition opening. “There was a very glossy, very beautiful catalogue. I recognised the images in it immediately, even though they were very abstract. They were the same as the holograms I’d seen in that dream the night before Rory’s funeral.

Donal went down to the gallery at once. They couldn’t explain how they’d got his name and address. And they became upset when he said he’d seen the paintings before. “They asked where I’d seen them, and I said, I know this will sound really stupid, but I saw them in a dream.”

The gallery was at the back of Chelsea Westminster Hospital, which has an outpatients mental surgery. Another man came on the scene and intervened in the row. Donal was still so agitated he thought at first they must have called a security guard from the hospital. “But he was actually the artist, Frank Phelan.”

To calm him down, Phelan walked Donal around the exhibition, and asked what he saw in the paintings. “In one, I could immediately see Rory’s profile. There was one figure on earth and another in heaven. I told Frank I thought the person on earth had died on their own sword, like a samurai. And Frank said the painting was called Rainbow Messenger. In Greek mythology, he said, the rainbow messenger is Iris, who translated the conversations between heaven and earth.

“I bought the painting. I still have it. And as I got to know Frank, we became great friends. Then last year he said, people still know you in Cork. He’d been talking to this lady who curates the CIT gallery. She’d asked him to bring an exhibition to CIT. And I said, that’s a bit of a coincidence, one of Rory’s last gigs was at CIT, my uncle was Jim Roche, the principal. Anyway, CIT have bought two of Frank’s paintings, so he rang and asked if I could come for the unveiling.

“And as it happens, Frank’s paintings are going to hang beside a portrait of my uncle Jim.” . . .
-----------------
The entire interview is quite interesting, but for this topic I only included the sections relevant to Rory's interest in art. But click on the link to read the entire interview if you haven't already. :mrgreen:

P.S. I understand the logic as to why Donal chose that painting for the cover art, but (and no offense Donal if you're reading this) I don't like that cover much either. On my copy of Wheels Within Wheels, I have the booklet reversed, so a photo of Rory is first thing I see when I pick that one up. The other one is too distressing, not that the artist didn't do an accurate representation, but that is not how I want to see Rory.

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Re: Who Were Rory's Favourite Painters?

Postby bronyr » 21 Mar 2016, 20:12

In line with Cynthia's posting an interview with Donal regarding Oxtoby and Phelan, I thought I'd post this snippet of an interview in Fuze magazine where Donal says that both he and Rory were big fans of Oxtoby:
---------
"Q: It almost appears to be a death mask of Rory. Was that the artist’s intent?
A: It wasn’t his intention at all. There’s still a lot of controversy with the artwork, and the artist himself. The painting is five foot by four foot, and when you reduce it down it becomes a death mask feature. The story starts with a love of [artist, David] Oxtoby by Rory and I. He comes out of the school of Blake and Hochney, who he came up with. He’s taught in America. He’s a very eminent painter. I think Robert Plant has got the biggest collection of his paintings.
-------

Link to the full article: http://www.roryon.com/fuze229.html

My reaction to first seeing the cover of Wheels Within Wheels was deeply visceral. I think I burst into tears. I'm completely torn about it. I love it to bits because it is so truthful, and serves as a bitter reminder, yet I don't want to see the blank look in the eyes. I look at the image often. It reminds me of paintings I've seen of writers and philosophers (especially during the Renaissance) who had a skull or two on their desks. Forever reminding themselves of the inevitability of our demise. Not to serve as a vehicle for being sullen or depressive, but to serve as a reminder to fully live. That's kind of how I see that image.
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Re: Who Were Rory's Favourite Painters?

Postby SUBY1974 » 22 Mar 2016, 14:17

Yes it would be great if Donal or Daniel could shed some light on this. I actually love Monet at the moment. I have a copy of Harmony In Green on my wall. I find abstract and colour therapy healing. I did know that Rory liked Oxtoby and Donal's wonderful story of Phelan. Phelan does abstract but I am sure he has done some colour field paintings. Subrata.x
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Re: Who Were Rory's Favourite Painters?

Postby SUBY1974 » 22 Mar 2016, 14:19

Flamenca said Rory may have been interested in Picasso if I remember correctly. Subrata.x
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Re: Who Were Rory's Favourite Painters?

Postby bronyr » 22 Mar 2016, 20:20

SUBY1974 wrote:Flamenca said Rory may have been interested in Picasso if I remember correctly. Subrata.x


It makes me wonder if we'll ever get to see some of Rory's paintings or sketches in the future. I've only seen the Bob Dylan sketch. Maybe in Donal's biography. If there ever will be a biography? :)
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Re: Who Were Rory's Favourite Painters?

Postby CiaSeattle » 22 Mar 2016, 20:24

I did see a link to a painting Rory did of Buddy Holly, of course I don't recall where. I imagine someone on this website will , though. Donal mentions it in the Dan Muise book as well.
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Re: Who Were Rory's Favourite Painters?

Postby bronyr » 22 Mar 2016, 23:23

CiaSeattle wrote:I did see a link to a painting Rory did of Buddy Holly, of course I don't recall where. I imagine someone on this website will , though. Donal mentions it in the Dan Muise book as well.

Gee I'd love to see that!
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Re: Who Were Rory's Favourite Painters?

Postby bronyr » 22 Mar 2016, 23:27

CiaSeattle wrote:I did see a link to a painting Rory did of Buddy Holly, of course I don't recall where. I imagine someone on this website will , though. Donal mentions it in the Dan Muise book as well.


I did a search and saw the painting he did of Buddy Holly in the search results. Someone posted here on this forum in 2011, but when I tried to see the image here on the forum it wasn't there. From what I see in the search image results, it's truly remarkable for a 12 year old to have painted.
https://www.google.com/search?q=rory+ga ... RYzTPuM%3A
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