Kevin Mc Namara was born in Manchester of Irish parents but was brought up in Ireland. He studied art at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, where he took his degree in 1985. A year before leaving college he had his first exhibition when he was included in the Emerging Artists Show organized by Guinness Peat Aviation, and that same year same year he took part in the influential Young Artists exhibition in Dublin.
Since then he has shown regularly in group exhibitions in Ireland, England, and the United States. He has also worked on a number of portrait commissions and in 1992 painted a mural for the Irish Pavillion at the Seville Exposition.
Artists who have influenced him are Velasquez and the nineteenth century Russian painters Ilya Repin and Valentine Serov.
Besides easel painting, Mc Namara has spent time in the United States working as an artist in film production. Kevin McNamara subject matter is mainly landscape and figurative. He is fascinated by the way in which light affects the atmosphere and mood of a scene and hence our relationship to it. In his paintings there is intense realism. Despite an impressionistic approach, the colors, seen at a particular moment in time, becomes the primary focus of his endeavor. This, combined with a consciousness of spatial relationships and tonal values, creates a quality of light and mood in the scenes that concentrate our attention on those things that so excite him.
Typical of Mc Namara method of working, the paint in these pictures is applied fat over lean , whereby the artist increases the amount of oil or medium as the painting progresses in order to produce a surface that is rich in textural terms.
Mc Namara normally works out of doors reacting directly and spontaneously to his subject. His view and treatment of a scene are therefore in the broad tradition of plein air painting. He seeks precise color temperatures, tonal values and harmonies of relationship.
The mood of his paintings is usually one of tranquility rendered through close observation, although occasionally he becomes more preoccupied with a more emotional response. Mc Namara, despite working in a tradition with long precedents in Ireland, brings a freshly personal view to his treatment of his subject.
Just as nature constantly refreshes itself, artists like him find new ways of drawing our attention to the wonders around us. S. B. Kennedy - Curator, Ulster Museum
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