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Petria Lenehan

Artist Petria Lenehan in her studio

With a background in both English literature and fashion design, Petria Lenehan spent many years running her own clothing label in her hometown of Dublin. Following a move to New York in 2014, she began to delve into painting. After several years of developing and selling her work, Petria has returned to rural Ireland to focus on her art practice full-time.

Petria now spends her days painting atmospheric abstract landscapes from her studio in rural Co. Wicklow as a way to express her deep connection to place and nature. Her paintings are interpretations of landscapes both internal and external, exploring overlapping themes of sensory perception, memory, and elements of the natural world.

She paints in fluid acrylics on both large-scale canvas and smaller works on wood. Each work is the result of a continuous cycle of intuitive unfolding, a repeated process of layering and what she calls “unpainting” - where removal and reduction are often as important as the act of painting itself. There is a healing energy to discover in Petria's work and an invitation to explore the elusive interplay that exists between the spiritual realms of the human experience and the physical world we inhabit.

Petria has spent the past few months delving deeply into the feeling and spirit of a place that lies very close to her heart; Iveragh, the largest peninsula in Ireland forms not only the westernmost point of Ireland but also of Europe. Besides the wild and rugged beauty of its natural environment, Iveragh is also a cultural landscape that is imbued with layers of mythology, archaeology, history, folklore, and tradition.

She has been visiting this peninsula for as long as she can remember - it's this deep connection Petria has to this place, that she translates through her paintings. They are about taking notice of the specific light, colour tone, and atmosphere projected by the nature and history specific to the area, offering her a way back in through feeling and memory.