Colin O'Daly has been painting for 20 years. He was known in Ireland as a master chef for most of his adult life. In the past 5 years he began to switch professions from chef to artist. At first glance this is huge but in technical terms it is not as great as it seems, artists have often likened painting to cooking. Where the professions can separate is when one considers the intention.
There are two main themes in O’Daly’s body of work. The first consists of paintings of interior architecture, mostly coming from the Irish 'big house'. They take their light from his studio which was in Upper Mount Street, Dublin. These pictures invariably contain a window on to the outside - a small bright view set against the darkness of the picture. In some cases the bright window is out of picture but its effect is still evident. This play of light is important in that it rescues the pictures from their darkness and lifts the mood of the work. “I see these works like sets of plays which have ended and the audience gone home. There is no doubt that life takes place in these interiors and will again. Its just that the action is stilled. In this way they operate as a current metaphor.”
The second theme is that of landscape, both urban and rural. Here again the paint work is beautiful, particularly in the small (30 x 30 cms) square canvases which show for example woodland, sheep, an urban environment. All these works are painted with care using a coloured counterpoint to lift the painting. They have an abstract feel, like he is positioned between the twin demands of pure painting and representation.
On a psychological level all these works are dark but in many cases the counterpoint colour (often pink) gives a clear notification of hope – in simple terms there is light at the end of Colin O'Daly's tunnel. The optimistic reading actually wins out the more you stay with these works.
Colin’s work "strives to explore the link between emotion and experience, one's memories and oneself. Were it possible to live in the world free from the restrictions of memory, primal emotional forces would surely predominate. My work attempts to bring the emotion's eye view of the world onto canvas."