Joan Gleeson


Born in the West of Ireland, Co. Mayo, Joan has always been fascinated by nature and the impact of the elements on natural phenomena. Now living in the coastal region of Dublin, Howth and Dollymount provides an ever-renewing source of inspiration and investigation against the backdrop of an ever-changing city. Water, sands, stones, vegetation are all a source of facination and form part of an investigative journey, ever-renewing itself.

Educated originally in the West of Ireland she studied in the National College of Art and Design 1968–1976 and Bachelor of the Arts degree in University College Dublin 1970–1973. She joined The Black Church printing studio in 1993. She specialises in etching. Sometimes combining a variety of techniques e.g. carborundum, embossed paper, chine-collé and photo etching, to convey a sense of unfolding possibilities within an image.

Working in the Black Church Print Studio from 1993 she has exhibited nationally and internationally, for example: Royal Hibernian Academy Annual Exhibition; Taispeantas Ealaine An Oireachtas; Impression 2, Galway Arts Festival; COE ’97 Claremorris Open; Iontas Sligo; Mini Print International, Barcelona; First Biennial International Juried Print Exhibition, Somers, New York; International Biennial Print Exhibition, Taiwan, China; International Mini Print Exhibition, RHA, Ely Place, Dublin. Footprint International Print Exhibition 2008, Center for Contemporary Printmaking, Norwalk, USA., Royal Ulster Academy, 2008.


Living near the sea, the coastline provides an ever renewing source of inspiration and investigation. The ever changing coastal activity of wind and tidal motion, and the impact of such activity on sand and dune provides the impetus for some of her work. Her work investigates shale delineated water lines, bird imprints, insect and worm trails. All contribute their distinctive marks on the earth surface while flocks of birds move in lightening wave motion over the surface of the water.

Further to this the artist would like to suggest “boundaries” where time and the timeless meet within the context of the shoreline, where a body of water meets a body of earth. As each living organism leaves its imprint on the sands of time, they are inevitably encompassed in the greater movement of life force as is wave motion on earth shore. Within the ethereal quality of light, natural forms take on a new aspect, a transparent quality, in the context of light penetration.

The suggestion therefore is that all original input, creativity, and creative action all inevitably contribute to the greater richness of the whole. Creative expression moves from time into timeless and limitless potential of endless unfolding life.