Mary McIntyre (b.1966)
‘Untitled (after Caspar David Friedrich) I’, 2002
Colour lightjet photographic print
122 cm x 152cm
Courtesy of the artist
Mary McIntyre was born in Northern Ireland, where she lives and works. She graduated with a Master’s in Fine Art from the University of Ulster, Belfast and is now a Reader in Fine Art at the university. Her work has been previously exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 2005, the Helsinki Photography Biennial; The Courtauld Institute, London; The MAC, Belfast; Visual, Carlow; Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. McIntyre’s photography is held in institutional and private collections including the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, the Arts Council of England, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Ulster Museum.
This piece, on loan from the artist, explores an important aspect of McIntyre’s photography, which often presents places that have been forgotten and overlooked.
It also speaks to the connection between her work and the Picturesque and Romantic movements in European landscape painting. McIntyre adopts the formal qualities of painting long associated with traditional landscape painters to re-interpret them within a contemporary context. Here, she takes as inspiration the Romantic, almost mystical, views of mountains depicted by the 19th century German landscape artist Caspar David Friedrich. However, the viewer’s gaze to the distant mountains in McIntyre’s work is interrupted by something completely manmade – Belfast’s declining shipyard. This is typical of her landscape images, which do not seek to represent traditional rural idylls, instead they depict vistas that are in themselves constructed so that each scene is broken up with evidence of urban activity. Her work recognises that our ways of ‘seeing’ the landscape are conditioned through our knowledge of its historical depictions in painting and that both painting and photography not only portray but also construct ‘the landscape’.