All Fran’s life has been driven by art, with a lot of his inspiration coming from music. Fran heard music growing up in his own home, which can be heard just about everywhere in Ireland. Also, as a child he would listen to the old Irish mythology stories and in time to come knit the music and the old stories together. These influences can clearly be seen throughout his artwork today. Fran enjoys watching the body language of musicians as they play, their facial expressions and body movements and the way they become as one with the music. Just like the great Miles Davies as he bent over his instrument, to the more refined classic musicians, up straight and correct.
The Irish artist Fran McCann, born in Belfast in 1945, lives in Gort (south Galway), deep in the heart of striking and tranquil countryside which he lets weave its spell around him. An artist with considerable depth, he has exhibited many times not only in Ireland, where his work is on long-term display at the Kenny Gallery in Galway, but also abroad: in Australia, Italy, Turkey and Germany; he has also been awarded many prizes, among which, recently, the Lifetime Achievement Award at the International Art Exhibition “Traces of Memory” held in Ferrara in November 2008 and the Michelangelo Buonarroti Award presented to him in Lecce in December 2008 by the Brindisi “Italia in Arte” Cultural Association.
Although he studied for a short period under such a great master as John Luke, McCann has preferred to follow his own personal path without being restricted by rules dictated by specific studios. Guided by an ardent and inventive sense of creativity and endowed with technical ability and innate talent, over the years he has been able to develop an individual and personal pictorial language through which he expresses his imagination and interprets his emotion; spurred by his inner world but also by the real world which is present all around and fascinates him, this results in compositions in which the formal elements of colour and music combine with great force and energy.
In his paintings Fran McCann creates particular atmospheres in which the traces of his Celtic and, possibly even more so, his musical culture shine through powerfully and intensely, and from which he draws amply to create subjects bathed in atmospheres, fragmented by backgrounds of colour quickly applied with the spatula, that give rise to suggestions and rhythmic colour vibrations. The artist himself loves to point out how the musical component, fundamental to his life since an early age, has become an essential element to a deep understanding of the vibrant and intensely moving effects of his art. Indeed, it is easy to hear musical notes from artists such as John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Van Morrison and many others, drifting out from his studio in Gort.
We cannot help but be drawn by the mystical and spiritual dimension of Fran McCann’s works that project us inside the artist’s inner, personal world but, driving us beyond the aesthetic reading and towards the sphere of spirituality, lead us also to confront our own intimate feelings and emotions in a fascinating dialogue with the unconscious.
The thick impasto colour, the quick brush mark that defines the contours of his subjects, the rhythm that pervades his works, all contribute together to create results of great charm, so that from the background onwards we are on a pictorial journey full of diverse sensations and vibrant emotions.
THE CELTIC WORLD (PAOLA TREVISAN)