Moyna Flannigan’s paintings of figures, always women, are an amalgam of memories, experiences and ideas, drawn from history, mythology and popular culture. Their identity or essence remains ambiguous, as if they were passing through, or suspended just out of reach. Notes of incidental humour are balanced by a darker, almost melancholic, sensibility which unifies the different parts into a new narrative, with women at the centre of a story that spans both ancient and modern worlds.
Following her recent presentation at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, she is furthering her investigation into the materials and methods of collage. It continues a working practice that often begins by chance - with the artist cutting up her own drawings and re-using the abstract body parts to create a new order from the original components – which is, in part, an attempt to understand the fragmentary way we experience and process a world permeated with an over saturation of images and information.
As she has said - “To a casual observer these images might seem completely disconnected, but for me they have associations to my life, my interests and to memory. I’m looking for ways to connect them in new work…in new formal arrangements like collage, which change the meaning and the impact of the original material. Collaging allows me to draw things in different languages and bring them together as a new whole.”
In these newest works, fragments of sculpture join the works on paper and paintings for which the artist is best known. In thinking about sculpture Flannigan has referred to Rodin’s idea that a fragment - an incomplete figure, or even a solitary hand – is a work of art in its own right and a touchstone of authenticity. In her words ‘I want to link this idea of the fragment to Minkowski’s Wire, the theory in physics that states that each and every thing is connected in space and time, by a wire, to everything else that exists’.
Born in Scotland in 1963, Flannigan studied at Edinburgh College of Art before receiving her Masters at Yale University School of Art in 1987. She went on to lecture in painting at Glasgow School of Art for ten years, and was a Teaching Fellow at Edinburgh College of Art 2015-19. Throughout her career, Flannigan has worked with galleries across Europe and the United States. Her earlier work includes a highly acclaimed collection of portrait miniatures, that were first exhibited at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in 2004. Recent exhibitions include presentations at Ingleby (2021), the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (2018) and GENERATION: 25 years of Contemporary Art in Scotland (2014). An solo exhibition of new works by Moyna Flannigan was presented at Ingleby in the Autumn of 2021.