A Profile of Dermot Seymour

Belfast born painter of 'ominous and displaced borderlands'

Dermot Seymour was born in 1956 in Belfast. He attended the University of Ulster where he received a BA in Art and Design in 1978 and an Advanced Diploma in Art and Design in 1981.

Seymour’s lurid, ominous and displaced borderlands are marked with bizarre juxtapositions. Nothing seems to be what it is. If the Ulster problem is about territory, then it is about insecurities. The artist brands his absurd menagerie of sheep, cattle and pookas so that they only stray into his pictures, just as partisans mark and territorialise the Ulster countryside.

His animals are always the ones who look on, silent witnesses to the persistent fact that nothing has changed. Alternatively, they pick up diseases from the fields, underlining the artist's preoccupation with the idea of the sickness in the land.

Seymour has used the Ulster drumlin landscape to enhance his desired sense of vertigo and inherent instability. He has also isolated animals on offshore stacks of land. This is particularly evident in 'On the Balcony of the Nation' (1989), a painting which summarised his concerns up to that time, focusing on a dislocated world of imminent collapse and moral breakdown.

Since moving to the west of Ireland, Seymour has continued to develop this imagery of disintegration, but now under even more dominating and luridly colourful skies.

His work has been included in many exhibitions: On the Balcony of the Nation, which toured the USA during the early 90s, The Fifth Province – Some New Art from Ireland which toured Canada from 1991 until 1993, and In a State, Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin. He has had solo shows in Belfast, New York, Berlin and Dublin.