Maria Noonan-McDermott Artist

For our latest ‘Meet the Maker’ feature we focus on Leitrim based artist Maria Noonan-McDermott.

‘Originally from Donegal, Irish artist Maria Noonan McDermott now lives and works from her studio in Co. Leitrim. Heavily influenced by the impressionist movement, her work focuses on the study of light and form in Irish landscapes.

With a love of folklore and story-telling, Noonan McDermott’s influences lie in rural Ireland, it is in these magical places that share a colloquial history where stories and the people are often engrained into the landscape.

Painting with palette knife, Noonan-McDermott maintains her own elegant yet brash style. Heavy, textured marks of paint sit on the canvas amongst soft contours of light. Her recognizable juxtaposition of styles combine to reveal an impressionist and abstract trait in her work’

I began my artistic career in Dublin in 1985 and qualified in Fashion and Design. From there I returned to college and completed a certificate in visual education before continuing on to study Fine Art. In the year 1990 I had my first solo exhibition of paintings in Letterkenny. The feedback and encouragement I received helped direct me on my creative path. My work is represented by galleries in Dublin, Clare, Sligo, Donegal, Antrim, Leitrim and Fermanagh. They are also held in private and corporate collections throughout Ireland, the UK and in locations across Europe and America.


In Noonan-McDermott’s work, there is a familiarity to the scenes and at the same time a sense of unfamiliarity. It is reminisent of Yeats’ later paintings, which often seem about to dissolve. This sense of imminent disappearance is created by a multi-layered, fractured surface created by painting with a palette knife which also echoes Yeats.

Noonan-McDermott’s paintings are created over long periods. The accumulation of tiny flecks of different colours are like sedimentary rocks, counterpointed by smooth areas of paint, which look as though they have been polished. A sense of the strangeness in the everyday runs through all the paintings… There is a friction between what can be remembered topographically and emotionally.

The Visual Artists’ News Sheet CRITIQUE SUPPLEMENT, May-June 2015 Review By Andy Parsons(Co-founder of Floating World Artists’ Books)

Next year, 2020 marks thirty years of exhibiting. My work has always been influenced by a deep connection with the natural environment, the beautiful rugged Irish landscape with its endlessly changing skies and dramatic seas. I am equally fascinated by the people that the land holds so tightly and am firmly bound in kinship with their poetic writing, their stories and soulful lyrics.

I’ve always been in awe of the storyteller, those gifted people who so fluidly guide you into their fantasy worlds, who submerge you so deeply, you cry, laugh and often seethe with anger and frustration. To me, this is true magic, possessing the rare skill of creating something from nothing, evoking such passion and emotion.

Growing up I found words didn’t come so easily to me, art became my outlet. I was transformed into the ‘Cailleach Feasa’, the storyteller. I recorded and recollected all the tales from times gone by, breathing life back into places and quirky characters I met along the way.

I was raised in a small village in Donegal and like most small communities in Ireland, it was filled with the most amazing characters.

As a child, my head was filled with fantastical stories told and dramatised by neighbours and family, the gatekeepers of local history. These tales, were, of course, exaggerated and embellished with such fun and gusto, like only true Irish seanchai can, that I couldn’t help growing up with a great love of the people around me and all their fascinating antics.

In my work, I narrate the stories with colour and humour as over the years they’ve formed and shaped in my memory.

My paintings become the text and you the reader and as the reader, you are challenged to participate and choose your own journey. Thus, enabling the story to live all over again!

This attachment is ingrained in my work and I strive to bring forth its warmth in the most honest and pure way I know how.’


You can find Maria on: Facebook

Maria is also on the New Irish Art Website.


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