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Laurence Riddell

In Reality

10 Nov - 8 Dec 2023

Oliver Sears Gallery is pleased to present  ‘In Reality’, an exhibition of new painting by Belfast born painter, Laurence Riddell.

Continuing with the theme of the horse, Riddell’s intimate and tender painting style may lend itself with sympathetic ease to the mysteries of his equine subject but that is to simplify and limit the artist’s intentions. While Riddell’s first contact with horses came professionally (he was one of those talented young jockeys who outgrew his potential), he has spent half a lifetime using them as subjects in his paintings. So, the paintings are not really about horses; they aim to create cadres of light, reflection and mortality. Inevitably, these are paintings about the human condition: anxiety, tranquillity, claustrophobia and melancholy. Riddell feels his way around the small white rectangles, filling the space with brushstrokes that flicker with truth, beauty and resignation.

He writes: “I am aiming to achieve this through the portrayal of a more accurate truth, more real than the perception of what is real, allowing for a more informed and reflective engagement with the subject matter which is often hemmed in / confined/ transfixed. Lighting is utilised and combined with the illusion of space or the lack of it in restricting both movement and gesture. The perimeter of the image is often employed to act as a boundary further enclosing the subject matter and deepening its vulnerability.”


Laurence Riddell was born in Belfast in 1960. He trained as a jockey. In 1988 he graduated with a BA (Hons) degree in Fine Art from the University of Ulster. He lectured in drawing and painting on the BA in Visual Arts Practice at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT). He was an artist in residence in Kildangan Stud, 2003-2004. Riddell draws inspiration from traditional equestrian imagery where he examines the relationship between man and horse. Research developed through collaboration with The University College Dublin Veterinary Department and The Irish Equine Centre in Co. Kildare, informs  his practice. Riddell’s work has already achieved international acclaim, covered in the Financial Times and compared to Bacon and Degas in The Irish Times. His work is included in many private collections in Ireland, Europe and the USA Laurence Riddell lives in Dublin. 






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