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About Conor Walton

Conor Walton

Conor Walton is a leading Irish artist and a painter of international renown.

He has had eighteen solo exhibitions in Europe and America and participated in museum exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery (London), MEAM (Barcelona), The National Gallery of Ireland, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Museo Páblo Serrano (Zaragoza), Palazzo Litta (Milan), Palazzo Cini (Venice), the American University Museum (Washington DC), WMOCA (Wisconsin), Castello di San Leo (Italy) PO.RO.S Museum (Portugal), Pasinger Fabrik (Munich) and Winchester Museum (UK).

Walton has won numerous awards for his work including the Isamil Lulani International Award (2019), ModPortrait 2017, Arc Salon 2014/15 (Still Life), Portrait Ireland 2005, ‘Lorenzo il Magnifico’ International Award (1999), Don Niccolo D'Ardia Caracciolo RHA Medal (1997), Keating McLoughlin Medal (1997), Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Scholarship (1994) Taylor Prize (1993). He was shortlisted for the BP Portrait Award in 2005 and the Golden Fleece Award in 2011.

He was born in Ireland in 1970 and trained at NCAD in Dublin and under Charles Cecil in Florence, Italy. He holds a Masters Degree in Art History and Theory (awarded with Distinction) from the University of Essex. He has lectured at the National Gallery of Ireland, University College Dublin, the Royal Hibernian Academy, Laguna College of Art and Design, the New Museum, Los Gatos, and been Artist in Residence at California Lutheran University. He has attended The Representational Art Conference (TRAC) both as demonstration artist and guest speaker. Since its foundation in 2017 the ‘Conor Walton Summer School’ and its scholarship programme have drawn students from four continents.

His works have appeared on postage stamps and book covers in Ireland and abroad.

He lives and works in Wicklow, Ireland.

"I see myself as a figurative painter in the European tradition, attempting to maintain my craft at the highest level, using paint to explore issues of truth, meaning and value. All my paintings are attempted answers to the three questions in the title of Gauguin’s famous painting: ‘Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?’"
- Conor Walton



Appraisals

"Conor Walton is making important paintings. These are my kind of masterpieces."

- Donald Kuspit (Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Art History and Philosophy at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, A. D. White Professor at Large at
Cornell University 1991-97, Senior Critic at the New York Academy of Art)

“These paintings are exquisite, not simply for their masterful technique but for their intriguing and provocative content as well. This is the art that is destined to shift the paradigm for artistic canon in the 21st century. It takes more than virtuous craftsmanship, it takes well informed innovative ideas to make great artworks. Conor is just the type of innovative thinker we need to take fine art where it must to go for the future. His artwork is insightful, philosophically astute, beautifully rendered and culturally relevant in the contemporary era. Conor's paintings are politically conscious without falling into the pitfalls of propaganda or sanctimony. Finally, a talented representational painter who actually comprehends 20th century art history, knows how to deploy it without glib appropriations and who can create work that is neither cliché nor derivative. Salute to Conor Walton, a painter for the ages!”

- Joseph Bravo (art-historian, critic, curator, Director of the Centro de Artes, Texas A&M University, San Antonio, USA).

"Concentration of thought, paralleled by dedication to skill in composition and the application of paint, was central to the development of Conor Walton's output during these years ... and led to his outstanding, and outstandingly successful, solo exhibition in March 1999 in Dublin. I spoke about him on that occasion, warmly commending the intensity of his vision, the intellectual authority of his conception, and the richness of his output. He is loaded with promise, burdened with an excess of what, in the seventeenth century, was a term of admiration - conceit."
- Bruce Arnold (writer, critic and art-historian)

"Walton, who studied in Florence and enjoys an international reputation, is steeped in the classical tradition, has perfected the grand style but he is also a thoroughly modern artist; the work is informed by a contemporary intellectual sensibility."
- Niall MacMonagle (critic, Sunday Independent)

"Dublin-born Conor Walton is a prodigious talent ... His extraordinary draughtsmanship and master of chiaroscuro, allied to his affinity for colour and composition undoubtedly makes him one of Europe's top contemporary artists."
- New Museum Los Gatos, USA

"It would be a mistake simply to view Conor Walton as an artist with exceptional skills who makes fine pictures. Conor is a person of strong opinions, someone with a lot to say, and he uses his art practice to capture, critique and present contemporary social issues to the public. Nevertheless, even if his pictures obviously refer to contemporary events, he remains determined that they are not reducible to mere propaganda. He wants his work not only to be accessible to a wide audience, but also to challenge viewers as to whether their own opinions are being endorsed or mocked. He describes this ambiguity as 'dancing along cultural faultlines'. As it happens, I believe that the kind of realist paintings that Conor paints are perfect vehicles for this sort of ambiguity."
- Robert Ballagh, leading Irish artist and designer, guest speaker at the opening of Conor Walton: 'Asymmetrical Warfare', Luan Gallery, August 17th 2019.

Joseph Bravo and 'The New Religion'
Joseph Bravo and 'The New Religion, LA, December 2017


Awards

Isamil Lulani International Award, ViZart Self-Portrait Biennial 2019,
National Historical Museum, Tirana

First Prize, ModPortrait 2017, Zaragoza and MEAM Barcelona

Third Prize, Still Life Category, International ARC Salon (2014-2015)

Finalist and sitter's choice, Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2014, Dublin heat.

Shortlisted, Golden Fleece Award, Dublin (2011)

Portrait Ireland 2005 Major Award,
Newtownbarry House Gallery (2005)

Shortlisted, BP Portrait Award,
National Portrait Gallery, London (2005)

Third Prize `Lorenzo Il Magnifico' for Painting,
Florence Biennale (1999)

Don Niccolo D'Ardia Caracciolo RHA Medal (1997)

Keating McLoughlin Medal awarded by the ESB (1997)

Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation, Montreal, Canada, Scholarship (1994)

Royal Dublin Society Taylor Art Bequest,
First Prize (1993)

ModPortrait 2017

Solo Exhibitions

2020
Asymmetrical Warfare
Sol Art, Dublin
2019
Asymmetrical Warfare
Luan Gallery, Athlone, Ireland
2018
Bare Essentials
Green Acres Gallery, Wexford, Ireland
2017
Rapt & Unwrapped
Chimera Gallery, Mullingar, Ireland
Bread and Butter Paintings
Gormleys Fine Art, Dublin, Ireland
2015
The Enemies of Progress
CK Contemporary, San Francisco, USA
La Figure Humaine
Galerie L’Oeil du Prince, Paris, France
2013
Vanitas
Peppercanister Gallery, Dublin, Ireland
Elements
Beaux Arts Bath, UK
2012
Allegories of Painting
Dunamaise Arts Centre, Ireland
Allegories of Painting
Galleri PAN, Oslo, Norway
2011
Allegories of Painting
Galleri Nexus, Denmark
2010
New Paintings
Beaux Arts Bath, UK
2009
Landscape and Still Life
Jorgensen Fine Art, Ireland
2006
Philosophical Paintings
Jorgensen Fine Art, Ireland
2003
New Work
Jorgensen Fine Art, Ireland
Shelter Portraits
Jorgensen Fine Art, Ireland
1999
Conor Walton
Jorgensen Fine Art, Ireland


Bread & Butter

Selected Group Exhibitions

2020
Mortality: A Survey of Contemporary Death Art curated by Donald Kuspit, American University Museum, Washington DC.
Painting the Figure Now,
Wisconsin Museum of Contemporary Art, USA
RHA Annual Exhibition
, RHA Gallagher Gallery,
Dublin
2019
The Illusionists, Blackboard Gallery, Camarillo, USA
Royal Hibernian Academy Annual Exhibition, Dublin
20x20, MEAM Barcelona
Boyle Arts Festival, Co. Roscommon, Ireland
'Five and Under', Arcadia Contemporary, LA
'The Human Condition', AnArte Gallery, San Antonio, Texas, USA
BP Portrait Award, Winchester Discovery Center, UK
VIZart International Biennial 2019, National Historical Museum, Tirana, Albania
Wexford Opera Festival Exhibition, Green Acres Gallery, Wexford
'GO WILD!', Gormleys Fine Art, Dublin & Belfast (curator)
2018
BP Portrait Award, Natational Portrait Gallery, London
Royal Hibernian Academy Annual Exhibition, Dublin
ModPortrait, Museo Páblo Serrano, Zaragoza
ModPortrait, MEAM Barcelona
Boyle Arts Festival, Co. Roscommon, Ireland
'Chronicles of a Future Foretold', Zhou B Art Center, Chicago
'Five and Under', Arcadia Contemporary, LA
BP Portrait Award, Wolverhampton Gallery, UK
Wexford Opera Festival Exhibition, Green Acres Gallery, Wexford
BP Portrait Award, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh
2017

Arcadia Contemporary, Los Angeles, USA (curated by John Seed)
RHA Annual Exhibition, RHA Gallagher Gallery, Dublin
Still, Beaux Arts Bath, UK
ModPortrait 2016, MEAM Barcelona and Museo Páblo Serrano, Zaragoza
'Crazy Jane', Hamilton Gallery, Sligo
'Far Out', Nexus Gallery, Tinglev, Denmark.
'International Surrealism Now', Palace of Mafra, Portugal

2016
ARC Salon, Salmagundi Club, New York.
RHA Annual Exhibition, RHA Gallagher Gallery, Dublin.
Wexford Opera Festival Exhibition, Green Acres Gallery, Wexford.
'Personal Choice II', Gormleys Fine Art, Dublin (curated by Bernadette Madden).
'Glow', Catherine Hammond Gallery, Skibbereen, Co. Cork.
'Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year', The Wallace Collection, London.
2015
ARC Salon, MEAM, Barcelona
Beaux Arts Bath @ The Affordable Art Fair, London
RHA Annual Exhibition, RHA Gallagher Gallery, Dublin
Boyle Arts Festival, Co. Roscommon, Ireland
Wexford Opera Festival Exhibition
, Green Acres Gallery, Wexford.
Galerie L'Oeil du Prince @ ST-ART Art Fair, Strasbourg, France.
2014
Beaux Arts Bath @ The Affordable Art Fair, London
RHA Annual Exhibition, RHA Gallagher Gallery, Dublin
Dublin Biennial 2014, CHQ Building, Dublin.
Objects of Beauty, CK Contemporary, San Francisco USA.
Peppercanister Gallery @ VUE Art Fair, Dublin
Winter Exhibition, The Biscuit Factory, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
'Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year', IMMA, Dublin
2013
Janus, Peppercanister Gallery, Dublin.
Beaux Arts Bath @ The Affordable Art Fair, London
The Boyle Arts Festival, Boyle, Co. Roscommon.
RHA Annual Exhibition, RHA Gallagher Gallery, Dublin.
The Art of Sublimity, Aughrim Arts Festival, Ireland.
Galerie L'Oeil du Prince, Paris, France.
Wexford Opera Festival Exhibition
, Greenacres Gallery, Wexford.
2012
Christmas Exhibition, Peppercanister Gallery, Dublin.
CK Contemporary at the Miami Art Fair
, Miami Beach, USA.
Wexford Opera Festival Exhibition
, Greenacres Gallery, Wexford.
Travelling Exhibition, Galleri PAN, Geilo & Stavanger, Norway.
Group Exhibition, Windsor Fine Art, New Orleans, USA.
Dublin Biennial, Point Village, Dublin.
Group Exhibition, CK Contemporary, San Francisco, USA.
Apokalips, Grattacielo Pirelli, Milan, Italy.
Postcards from a Small Island, Beaux Arts Bath, Avon, UK.
12 X 4, Gormleys, Belfast.
RHA Annual Exhibition, RHA Gallagher Gallery, Dublin. 
Beaux Arts Bath @ The Affordable Art Fair, London
2011
La Situazione, Spazio Giuccardini, Milan, Italy.
The Boyle Arts Festival, Boyle, Co. Roscommon.
Nude – Blatant Exhibitionism, Kenny Gallery, Galway.
Level, Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise.
Life Room, Bourn Vincent Gallery, University College Limerick.
RHA Annual Exhibition, RHA Gallagher Gallery, Dublin
Beaux Arts Bath @ The Affordable Art Fair, London
2010
The Myth of the True, Palazzo Litta, Milan, Italy.
The Guardians of the Spirit, Castello di San Leo, Italy.
30th Anniversary Exhibition, Beaux Arts Bath, Avon, UK.
Level, Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise.
The Boyle Arts Festival, Boyle, Co. Roscommon
Kitch Biennale 2010, Palazzo Cini Gallery, Venice, Italy.
Julesalong, Gallery Pan, Oslo, Norway.
Christmas Exhibition, The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, UK.
2009
Best of BP Portrait Painters, The A Gallery, London.
Mick O’Dea Selects, Lavit Gallery, Cork.
CASe, Lavit Gallery, Cork.
RHA Annual Exhibition, RHA Gallagher Gallery, Dublin.
The Boyle Arts Festival, Boyle, Co. Roscommon.
Summer Exhibition, Newtownbarry House Gallery, Wexford.
Wexford Opera Festival Exhibition, Greenacres Gallery, Wexford.
Christmas Exhibition, Beaux Arts Bath, Avon, UK.
Christmas Exhibition
, The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, UK.
2008
Spring Exhibition, Jorgensen Fine Art (also 1997, 1998, 2004, 2005, 2007).
Kitch Biennale 2008
, Pasinger Fabrik, Munich, Germany.
Summer Exhibition, Jorgensen Fine Art (also 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004).
Summer Exhibition, Newtownbarry House Gallery, Wexford.
CASe, Lavit Gallery, Cork.
Christmas Exhibition, Beaux Arts Bath, Avon, UK.
2007
Christmas Exhibition, Jorgensen Fine Art (also 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005).
Group Exhibition, Killarney Art Gallery.
RHA Annual Exhibition, RHA Gallagher Gallery, Dublin.
Summer Exhibition, Mellerstain House, Berwickshire, UK.
Artists of Fame and Promise, Beaux Arts Bath, Avon, UK.
New Realism, The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, UK.
2006
Highlights of the Taylor Art Prize, 1878 – 2005, National Gallery of Ireland.
Mirror Image, Artonomy, Cornwall, UK.
2005
Portrait Ireland 2005, Newtownbarry House Gallery, Wexford.
The Boyle Arts Festival, Boyle, Co. Roscommon.
RHA Annual Exhibition, RHA Gallagher Gallery, Dublin.
BP Portrait Award 2005, National Portrait Gallery, London, UK.
The Irish Show, Wykeham Gallery, Hampshire, UK
2004
RHA Banquet Show, RHA Gallagher Gallery, Dublin (also 1997).
The Boyle Arts Festival, Boyle, Co. Roscommon.
RHA Annual Exhibition, RHA Gallagher Gallery, Dublin.
Additions 2004, National Self Portrait Collection, University of Limerick
2001
RHA Annual Exhibition, RHA Gallagher Gallery, Dublin.
2000
Florence Biennale in Dublin, Ashford Gallery, Dublin
1999
Florence Biennale, Fortezza da Basso, Firenze, Italy.
1998
RHA Annual Exhibition, RHA Gallagher Gallery, Dublin.
1997
RHA Annual Exhibition, RHA Gallagher Gallery, Dublin.
1996
Two Touches, Three Tastes, Ormond Gallery, Dublin.
NCAD Drawing 250, RHA Gallagher Gallery, Dublin.
Oireachtas Exhibition, Guinness Hops Store, Dublin (also 1994).
1993
Taylor Exhibition, RDS, Ballsbridge, Dublin.
NCAD Degree Show, RHA Gallagher Gallery, Dublin.

Public Collections

Archdiocese of Dublin, the Boyle Civic Collection, Club na Muinteoirí, Dublin Dental Hospital, the Electricity Supply Board, the Humanist Association of Ireland, Ionis Pharmaceuticals, the Irish Defence Forces, Maynooth College, the National Library of Ireland, the National Self-Portrait Collection (University of Limerick), The Northern Irish Assembly, The Office of Public Works, An Post, RTÉ, The Royal Dublin Society, St Patrick's Cathedral (Dublin), St Patrick's College Cavan, Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin

Conor’s commissioned portraits can be found in many public and private collections, and his work has featured on book covers and postage stamps in Ireland and abroad.

Portrait of Gen. Conor O'Boyle

Select Bibliography

'Conor Walton: Social Surrealist'
by Donald Kuspit, 'Conor Walton: Asymmetrical Warfare' catalogue essay, August 2019

'The Bread and Butter Paintings of Conor Walton'
Joseph Bravo, www.conorwalton.com, 2 November 2017

'Bread and Butter Paintings'
Cristín Leach, The Sunday Times, 17 September 2017

'The New Nude' by Walt Morton
Poets & Artists Magazine
Issue #86 July 2017

Art, Central Bank Debt Control and Money Versus Nature
Mark O'Byrne and Conor Walton
www.maxkeiser.com, 10 May 2017

'Conor Walton: Pessimism, Painting and the Incandescent Spark
James Waller, West Cork Review, 5 February 2017

Synergy and Opposition in the Heart of ‘Glow’, Catherine Hammond Gallery
James Waller, West Cork Review, 6 October 2016

Three to Watch', Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine
(USA) editorial, May-June issue 2016

'50 Memorable Painters 2015', Poets and Artists
Magazine (USA), curated by John Seed and Didi
Menendez, 19 December 2015

'Ten Memorable Paintings from 2015',
John Seed, Huffington Post, 19 December 2015

'Art That Hurts', F. Scott Hess, Huffington Post,
9 November 2015

'Conor Walton Brings Memento Mori into the 21st Century',
Grace-Yvette Gemmell, ARTSY,

'The Enemies of Progress', Conor Walton, Artists on Art Magazine, Fall edition, 2015

Conor Walton, 'The Painter as Medium', Artists on Art Magazine, Fall edition, 2014

'Contemplating Higher Things'
Interview with John Seed, Huffington Post
(USA edition), 1 September 2014.

'Access to Incandescence', Interview with Andres Orlowski, Combustus Magazine, 23 May 2014.

Niall MacMonagle, 'Black Hole',
Sunday Independent, 24 November 2013.

"This is a great time to be a cultural pessimist"
Interview with Conor Walton, Penduline Press,
15 June 2013.

Jane Humphries, 'Elements', Irish Arts Review, Winter edition 2012/13

Conor Walton 'Under Wraps',
Artists & Illustrators, London, October 2012

Conor Walton, 'Paintologically Speaking',
The Painting Imperative, Autumn edition 2012

Sarah E. Fensom, 'Contemporary Still Life',
Art & Antiques, New York, October 2011

Lise-Lotte Blom, 'Conor Walton – en fascinerende irsk maler',
Kunstavisen, 21 October 2011 (Danish)

Kjeld Thomsen, 'Alt und Neu, Neu Verpackt: Irischer Künstler in der Uker Galerie', Der Nordschleswiger, 1 October 2011 (German)

Jana Koroczynsky, 'Conor Walton', Kultura, 25 November 2010 (Polish)

Paolo Lesino, 'Lo Spirito del Guardiano',
‘I Guardiani dello Spirito’, Milan, 2010 (Italian)

Barry Egan, ‘I’d rather be up a mountain than in the museums’,
Sunday Independent, 8 March 2009

Martin Murphy, 'Irish Artist Reinvigorates Vanitas Genre',
Epoch Times, New York, 26 February 2009

Gemma Tipton, 'Surfaces and Truths', catalogue essay for Conor Walton: Landscape and Still Life, Jorgensen Fine Art 2009

John Burns, 'Sold!' Red Rock Press, Dublin 2008

Gemma Tipton, 'You’ve Been Framed',
Irish Times, 1 December 2007

Kate Holmquist, 'Splashing Out', Irish Times,
9 December 2006

Irish Independent, 'A Slice of a Century of Winning Art', 8 July 2006

Aidan Dunne, 'Best to Ease off on the Symbolism',
Irish Times, 28 June 2006

Conor Walton, 'Philosophical Paintings',
Jorgensen Fine Art, 2006

Meg Walker (ed.), ‘Emerging Artists’,
The Buyer’s Guide to Irish Art 2005

Frances Childs, 'Back to Life',
London Telegraph, 3 September 2005

Sherna Noah, 'A Monkey Does the Business in Prized Portrait Gallery', Sunday Independent, 1 May 2005

Dalya Alberge, 'Gorilla Apes Sitters on Art Shortlist',
London Times, 30 April 2005

Arifa Akbar, Record Entry List for BP Portrait Prize',
London Independent, 30 April, 2005

Declan McCormack, 'Kerry Lovers and a Gung-ho Pagan',
Sunday Independent, 13 April 2003

Ib Jorgensen, 'Art Investment can be Picture Perfect Move',
Sunday Independent, 24 November 2002

John O’Riordan, 'A Progress Report on the Artistic Career of Conor Walton', MA Thesis, UCD, 2002

Bruce Arnold, ‘Conor Walton’, New European Artists, ed. E. Lucie Smith, Amsterdam, 2001

Ciara Ferguson, 'Irish artists pick up the prizes at Italian show',
Sunday Independent, 9 January 2000

Aidan Dunne, 'Charts for a Way Forward',
Irish Times, 7 April 1999

Declan McCormack, 'Solitary Enshrinement',
Sunday Independent, 28 March 1999

Mary O’Sullivan, 'The Italian Connection',
Sunday Independent, 29 November 1998

Studio photo