Brian Ferran (b.1940)

Pat, 1971

Oil on paper on board

69.8cm x 49.9cm

Courtesy of Board of Trustees of National Museums NI. The Artist ©

Born in 1940, Brian Ferran is an artist from Derry who has done much throughout his career to promote contemporary Irish art. He is perhaps best known for his paintings which explore Irish mythology, taking the form and colour of Celtic art as their starting point.

He trained initially as an art teacher at St Joseph’s College of Education in Belfast, in order to support himself. He taught until 1966, when he got a job with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, later becoming its Chief Executive. He holds a BA Hons in Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London and trained at the Berra Academy of Fine Art in Milan from 1970-71.

He has lectured extensively on contemporary Irish art at universities and galleries in the United States and designed the logo for the Irish American Cultural Institute. He was Commissioner for Northern Ireland at the Paris Biennale in 1980 and Commissioner for Ireland at the Sào Paolo Bienal in 1985. He has served on a number of art committees, including the British Council Fine Art Committee, Crafts Council of Great Britain International Committee, Ulster Museum Fine Art Committee; Alice Berger Hammerschlag Trust and the Irish Exhibition of Living Art to name but a few.

Ferran’s work has been exhibited in solo and group shows both at home and abroad, particularly in America. His work is held in many public collections, including the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Derry City Council, Ulster University, the Office of Public Works and An Chomhairle Ealaíon. This piece, Pat, is in the collection of the Ulster Museum, it was made by Ferran in 1971. Mike Catto has written in his Art in Ulster 2 book that Pat belongs to a Cubist collage tradition that was revitalised by the Pop artists of the 1950s, who incorporated photographs, magazine clippings and other materials into their paintings.