Mary Theresa Keown (b.1974)

Wedding Shop, 1996

Oil on canvas

90cm x 113cm

Collection of the Northern Ireland Civil Service

Born in 1974 in Enniskillen, county Fermanagh, Keown now lives and works in Manorhamilton, county Leitrim. She has recently completed a PhD at the University of Ulster, reading feminism and the history of abstract painting. Her work includes video and writing and is aligned to her painting which engages with abstract expressionist processes. She has exhibited her work throughout Ireland, and internationally. She studied at University of Ulster for her BA in Fine Art, graduating in 1997. She has exhibited nationally and internationally with shows in Tokyo, Bilbao, Belfast and Dublin. She has won many awards including the Ireland Fund of Great Britain - artist of the year award in 2001 and her work is housed in many public and private collections.

This piece, Wedding Shop, is in the collection of the Northern Ireland Civil Service. Painted in 1996, while Keown was an art student, she has recently reflected on the work: ‘I have never been a consumer of a wedding shop; they seem to speak to me about self-perfection and a kind of sameness. As an art student and in silent consternation, I would alight a bus here with all the other nomads on a rainy Donegal Street. I felt the clash between female inscription in the public arena and the fleeting experiences of waiting at a bus stop. It occurs to me now, that with this painting, I was trying to find a way for subject and matter to meet.’