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Paintings : Volcanic Series

A holiday to the Canary Islands in 1990 first introduced Carmel Mooney to the volcanic landscape of Fire Mountain on Lanzarote. She returned to the island to work several times in 1991 and 1992 and the first exhibition of her volcano paintings from Fire Mountain was at the Rubicon Gallery in Dublin in 1993. This first volcanic series was also exhibited in Hong Kong in 1996.

From the very beginning of her engagement with the volcanic landscape, Carmel was immediately drawn to the rich, intense colours and its incredible shapes and contours:

"When I saw it [Fire Mountain] that winter it was so ugly. But when you looked closer, you saw the colour, and the shapes were so extraordinary it became a challenge to make them work. I don't know how many times I went back. A guide took me to where you're not supposed to go at all, into the big crater with its fire-scorched edges."

This quest to get as close to her subject as possible, physically, intellectually and emotionally, led to Carmel overcoming her vertigo in order to take cable car rides and even a helicopter trip over the still active crater of Mount Etna in Sicily, Italy. She visited Sicily regularly to work on the Mount Etna landscape between 1997 and 1999. The work from this period was exhibited in London and Dublin in 1999. A later series of paintings, 'Snow on Mount Etna', was produced in 2000 and features the incongrous landscape of the snow covered slopes of a still active volcano: "It [Mt Etna] almost seems tamed by the snow. On some nights you'll see a tiny trickle of red coming through the cold white".

Carmel Mooney continues to engage with the volcanic landscape, her enthusiasm as strong as ever:

"I don't know where it's going to end. I remember standing where there are all these cracks in the earth from the eruption and thinking that I could stand in that one part of the landscape and paint for the rest of my life, just taking my composition from the lines where the earth breaks."

Click an image to view full version:

Snow Mount Etna III, by Carmel Mooney (42KB)
Snow Mount Etna III (42KB)

Crater in Evening Light, by Carmel Mooney
Crater in Evening Light

Volcanic Mountain, by Carmel Mooney (50KB)
Volcanic Mountain (50KB)

Eruption II, by Carmel Mooney
Eruption II (40KB)

Study for Fire Mountain, by Carmel Mooney
Study for Fire Mountain (60KB)

Sea of Fire, by Carmel Mooney
Sea of Fire (72KB)

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