Roisin Bateman began her life and her art in the west of Ireland, and the rough textures of the Irish rock and sea are still in her brushstroke. In that landscape nature is veiled in soft light, mist, and rain, and the seasons change only gradually. Bateman says that in Ireland she became aware of processes in nature that she could sense but not quite see.
In 1986 she moved to the South Fork of the eastern end of Long Island, a narrow peninsula surrounded by creeks, bays and open ocean. Here brilliant light is reflected back from the water and sand dunes, illuminating every object, sharpening every tone and hue. What Bateman had dimly glimpsed in Ireland became vivid on Long Island.
Bateman is not a “landscape artist” in the traditional sense. Rather, nature’s laws of metamorphosis inform her work. Each painting unfolds as a plant might grow, step by step – between polarities of activity and stillness, what is hidden and what is revealed, gravity and levity – till at last it stands by itself, having reached its particular balance and end.
I grew up in the wild and magical landscape of the Connemara coast in the west of Ireland. The qualities of that landscape with its ever-shifting texture of sea and sky, small rocky fields and hawthorn bushes bent by winter gales, live within me as inner landscape. It is this inner wellspring upon which I draw much of my inspiration for painting. landscape informs my work – dark moody skies with rolling clouds which can at any moment give way to a sudden burst of sunlight, bringing everything into a heightened state of color and aliveness.
The landscape of Eastern Long Island, New York, where I currently live and work, is of a very different quality. Its texture is much more light-reflective – large expanses of sandy shore and flat farmland. The rhythm of the year is more clearly defined – the sharp defining cold of winter, the welcome release of spring, the sensuous heat of summer and the surrender and deep colors of autumn.
The juxtaposition of these two environments creates a tension and a balancing of forces, which provide a very rich soil from which to create new form and expression.
Painting, for me, creates a dynamic interplay and bridges the gap between these two worlds.