Artist Spotlight: Peter McConville

A Northern Ireland textile artist turns his brush to the beauty of the Canadian prairies.

Peter McConville discovered at a young age that he expresses himself best through paint and colour. He studied art at secondary school in his native town of Banbridge, Ireland, selling paintings as early as 13 years old.

At the time, Ireland was big into textiles, and old factories lined the riverside where young McConville lived. He worked as an artist, producing furnishing designs such as curtains for European fashion houses, while simultaneously studying fine art.

With Northern Ireland becoming increasingly dangerous throughout the 1970s, McConville and his wife crossed the Atlantic, headed for the peaceful, wide-open spaces of the Canadian prairies.

“There’s something wonderful about the light here; I try to capture that,” he says, creating mood and spirit with each brushstroke. His serene Manitoba naturescapes evoke the spiritual connections one feels when surrounded by tall trees and the scent of lush greenery.

His experience as a textile artist is evident in each of his works: the silk-screening process could only print one colour at a time, so hand-painting tiny dots was one of the ways different tones were brought to fabric. Now, McConville uses this technique on every square centimetre of his acrylic paintings, producing a signature shimmering effect that seems to float off the canvas, playing with tone, depth and perspective using minimal colours.

“I just want people to take a look at these and appreciate some of the really good things we have here,” he states, noting the abundance of beauty within reach of Winnipeg.

Mayberry Fine Art hosts a solo exhibition of McConville’s new works November 23-December 6 2019.