Patrick Pye, life and work

A counter-cultural story


Brian McAvera

Hardback €31.50
Catalogue Price: €35.00
ISBN: 978-1-84682-366-4
March 2013. 144pp; large format, full-colour ills.

‘[A] well researched and erudite book on the life and work of Patrick Pye … It becomes clear that there is nothing contradictory in Pye as a modern painter using religious subjects. On the contrary, it is his position as a modernist that makes this possible, and it is his revitalisation of the religious subject which is his innovation in contemporary art … McAvera’s book is a major contribution to establishing Patrick Pye in his rightful place in the front rank of contemporary painters', Stephen McKenna, Irish Arts Review (March/April 2013).

‘Brian McAvera’s exploration of the life and work of the contemporary Irish painter, Patrick Pye, is unusually successful in identifying the various artistic influences, both Irish and international, which have shaped the artistic imagination of a painter whom McAvera calls “central to the Irish tradition” … Pye offers some of the most penetrating analyses of the relations to the religious imagination and contemporary culture … Brian McAvera’s life of Pye conveys much of the range of his talent and his life and his treatment of the relation of art and religious is often remarkably insightful … What is finally remarkable in Pye is not merely his artistic achievement both in its originality and in its technique, but also the shape of his religious imagination and his creative application of it within his larger work. McAvera notes that he has not only an exceptional artistic vision but also a fine critical and theological insight. This is rare in any age but perhaps uniquely important in our own', Don J. Briel, Irish Literary Supplement (Fall 2014).

‘McAvera argues persuasively that Pye is a history painter rather than a religious artists, because he focuses on “the significance and emotional impact of the stories he chooses to tell” … [Pye’s] work continues to be vibrant and alive, fuelled by the palpable energy that ignites when an artist’s personal concerns are made universal as art. There’s nothing more modern and contemporary than that', Cristin Leach Hughes, The Sunday Times (February 2013).

‘A well and plentifully illustrated book dedicated to the artist’s life and work … [includes] a well-informed biographical introduction … McAvera draws a vivid picture of Dublin’s cultural life in the late fifties, sixties and seventies, and shows how centrally Pye was involved with this … McAvera offers valuable analogies, influences and insights … Pye is fortunate to have found a writer who can so eloquently vindicate the achievement of a “great colourist” and a “great synthesizer, able to take the old and the new and refashion them into his own image … slowly and patiently painting himself into art history”', Nicola Gordon Bowe, Dublin Review of Books (June 2013).

‘This is a distinguished book about a significant artist, which enlarges one view of Irish art history', Peter Costello, The Irish Catholic (April 2013).

‘To US readers, Pye’s paintings will seem to owe as much to Georgia O’Keefe, Matisse, Dali, and Marsden Hartley as to religious painting traditions. Readers interested in abstracted but figural painting with organic forms and a striking lyric sense of color will find much worth looking at here … the quality of color reproduction is first-rate and there are many full-page images', Reference & Research Book News (October 2013).