Breon O'Casey was a prolific artist and an important figure in 20th Century British art, known for his use of simple, nature inspired motifs and geometric shapes. Over his lifetime he mastered a wealth of artistic disciplines and was widely respected as a painter, printmaker, sculptor, weaver and jewellery maker. He worked for many years at his studio on Porthmeor Beach and is among St Ives most influential and internationally recognized artists.
Breon O'Casey was born in 1928, the son of the Irish playwright, Sean O'Casey. After National Service he attended the Anglo-French Art School, a small art school in St John's Wood, London. In 1959, inspired by a film about naïve painter Alfred Wallis, O'Casey moved to St Ives, and worked initially as assistant to sculptor Denis Mitchell, and then Barbara Hepworth, both of whom had a significant influence on the development of his own work. He lived in Cornwall until his death in 2011. Recent Selected Exhibitions: 2014 Pangolin, London; 2012 Newlyn Art Gallery, Cornwall, Lemon Street Gallery, Cornwall; 2010 Somerset House, London; 2009 Lemon Street Gallery – solo; 2008 Lemon Street Gallery – group, Peppercanister Gallery, Dublin, Lemon Street Gallery, Cornwall; 2007 Yew Tree Gallery, Morvah, Cornwall, Lemon Street Gallery at Dundas Street Gallery, Edinburgh – group; 2006 Peppercanister Gallery – solo, Lemon Street Gallery – solo, Mullan Gallery, Belfast; 2005 The Stour Gallery, Shipston-on-Stour – mixed, Six Chapel Row, Bath – solo, Yorkshire Sculpture Park – solo, Lynne Strover Gallery, Cambridge – with Jim Partridge; 2004 Peppercanister Gallery, Dublin – solo, Mullan Gallery, Belfast – solo; 2003 Berkeley Square Gallery, London-solo’ New Ashgate Gallery, Farnham – with Sir Terry Frost RA and Sandra Blow RA’ Wexler Gallery, Philadelphia – solo’ Yew Tree Gallery, Morvah, Cornwall – solo; 2002 Peppercanister Gallery, Dublin – solo; 2001 New Ashgate Gallery, Farnham, Surrey – solo, Helen Drutt Gallery, Philadelphia – solo; 2000 Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin – solo, Scolar Fine Art, London – solo, Helen Drutt Gallery, Philadelphia – solo, Lynne Strover Gallery, Cambridge – with Jim Partridge; 1999 Berkeley Square Gallery, London – group, Tate Gallery, St Ives – with Bernard Leach; 1998 Helen Drutt Gallery, Philadelphia – solo, The Society of Arts and Crafts – group; 1997 Lynne Strover Gallery, Cambridge – solo, Bridge Gallery, Dublin: The Irish Friends of Denis Mitchell – group, Brewery Arts, Cirencester – solo, Contemporary Applied Arts, London – group; 1996 Black Swan Guild, Frome: Man and Materials – solo (touring exhibition), TristAnn’s Gallery, Dundalk, Ireland – solo, Oxford Gallery, Oxford – solo; 1995 Oriel, Cardiff – solo, New Ashgate Gallery, Farnham – group, Oxford Gallery, Oxford – group, Crafts Council, London – group (touring exhibition), St James’s Gallery, Bath – solo; Public Collections: Arts Council of Great Britain; Arts Council of Northern Ireland; Arts Council of Ireland / An Chomhairle Ealaion; Cornwall County Council; Crafts Council, London; Dartington Hall, Devon; Devon County Council; Farmleigh House – Office of Public Works, Ireland; Goldsmith’s Hall, London; Granada Television; Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg; Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge; Kunstsammlungen Der Vests, Coburg, Germany; Leeds Museum and Art Gallery; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Pforzheim Museum, Germany; Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery; Royal Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh; Tate Gallery; Sommerville College, Oxford; Trinity College, Dublin; Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, London; Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
I am an abstract painter, closer, in my work, to the older definition of a still-life painter than a landscape painter. A painter, that is, who works best in the confines of his studio, and who sees the world through a collection of pots and pans, apples and oranges (or circles, triangles and squares) rather than the fields, trees and skies. To look outside at the vast vista of unending landscape flowing in all directions, is for me too difficult to try and get down on paper. I shut the door and work in my windowless studio.