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By Naomi Taitz Duffy
Mixed media on wood panels
10in x 16in x 2in

1. This work is about . . . This painting is part of a series of small paintings based on maps of Dublin and the surrounding area from the 1700s and 1800s. By incorporating elements of old maps into otherwise abstract paintings, the line between what serves as information and what is simply a visual element becomes blurred. For me, the maps offered a new vocabulary from which to draw inspiration for my paintings, and at the same time drew me in as abstract compositions of their own.

2. I made this work because . . . When I came to Dublin to take part in a residency at the Mart in Rathmines, I stumbled upon an old atlas of the city that piqued my interest. I immediately saw the juxtaposition of shapes, lines, and colour in the old maps as an abstract painting waiting to be made. After having worked on purely abstract pieces for a while I was excited by the idea of working from a source that felt like a natural extension of the geometric and pattern-based work I had been doing.

3. I hope when people see this work they will . . . To me, this work has a lot to do with looking past the initially intended meaning of things we see everyday and finding some piece of beauty in them. This is especially true for items that are technical in nature but show the marks of the human hand, which old maps and diagrams tend to do. Developing the visual vocabulary of maps into paintings is for me a way of showcasing the beauty contained in seemingly mundane objects of our everyday.

4. In terms of art history, this work . . . The paintings in this series begin as simple abstractions and are layered with the marks of map-making. I enjoy beginning with fields of colour, inspired by pure abstraction, and adding to them with technical marks that can be said to reflect elements of modern industrial life. In a way, these paintings take visual elements not intended to be art at all and turn them into “fine art”, as I suppose abstract artists have always done.

5. You can see my work . . . At and

Curios About is a series featuring works by Dublin artists, curated for us by our friends at the Square in the Circle blog, and hosted there as well as here.

Each artist is asked to submit an image of one work and answer a set of questions about it. We’d love it if you’d submit something you’ve made.

Square in the Circle

Square in the Circle is a blog featuring responses to contemporary art. You can find it at

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