Mick Rooney at The Fosse Gallery

The Fosse Gallery in Stow on the Wold is very excited about its March exhibition. There is a terrific buzz of enthusiasm.

Mick Rooney the Royal Academician is showing a new series of works entitled “From Genesis to Nemesis”. I called in last week while I was in Stow and saw the delivery of the five foot high Waiting and Wandering – breathtaking. There is so much going on with this very interesting artist. I have been intrigued by Mick Rooneys work for a few years now and even splashed out on one of his Aviary series.

Rooney, Fosse Gallery, Royal academy, Genesis to nemesis
Waiting and Wandering, Oil on canvas 60” x 40”

So it was with some excitement that I arranged to meet the artist in January as he was completing the preparation for the exhibition. I expected to meet an eccentric working in a sort of Harry Potter world so was very surprised by his level headedness, unbelievable memory and wit leading to a pleasurable couple of hours of loquacious discussion. 

Where did his art and creativity come from – not inherited from his parents or family he was keen to explain. “My parents were very practical and straightforward settling in Surrey in the thirties”; so it was down to others around him to notice he was slightly different. He puts this down to an accident in childhood which seemed to effect his education – this from a man fluent in several languages! But relatives and friends observed the six year old travelling in a different direction than expected and he was lucky enough for their support through art schools and Schools of Art. “A calling” he describes his art, but like other great talents he explains how “I found I was quite good at painting and didn’t need to spend time having to think hard about it as it all appeared to be there”. It is all there in the colour and composition that seems effortless.

Mick Rooney, Fosse Gallery, Royal academy, Genesis to nemesis
They await a sign from the Gods, gouache / tempera on paper, 14.5” x 19}

So what about all these creatures, some mythological, some real, the androgynous humans, the beautiful palette. I was of course keen to understand where the imagery came from. When tackled with the question and after a little thought, he astounded me with his answer. “We all spend our time simply going up the escalator taking it all in, but I found when I got to the top I managed to retain all I had seen on the way up.” His memory is inspirational, and it seems he just opens the door with the paint brush and the images flow out as if they all know there place already.

His memory for these early developments astounded me and I could have sat for hours as his development into a very accomplished artist unravelled before me. What became clear though that here was not a man who simply painted but one who had a thirst for knowledge and experience in a poetic manner. And there is a message. The looks in the animals tells us that as we hurtle towards perdition we cannot solve it ourselves. To survive we and nature must become equal partners. These are deep thoughts with Mick Rooney. Not just once in our discussion did he revert to his profound idea that to “see the six year old – see the man”

Mick Rooney, Fosse Gallery, Royal academy, Genesis to nemesis
Rudderless Ark, tempera on paper, 11.5” x 10.5”

The Fosse Gallery show “From Genesis to Nemesis” opens on 4th March. Do go and see this exhibition of works to inspire your innervision. Maybe you might splash out as well!

Images copyright Mick Rooney RA

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