Donald Teskey: Currents

23 May-21 Jun 2024

Art First
London SE11 4UA


The south facing Atlantic and its meeting point with the Indian Ocean on the southernmost tip of Africa at Cape Agulhas had a real impact on Teskey. Looking south there is nothing between the Cape and Antarctica other than 3,800 miles of pure sea.  The Cape of Good Hope, False Bay, Cape Point, Kalk Bay, Pringle Bay; these new subjects are luminous, assured studies of places and natural forces by a painter who relishes raw first-hand experience of a landscape. His distinction as a painter of the sea is to get his brush to reveal an energy, and the magical agility of water crashing onto jagged rocks or under clear blue skies at Cape Agulhas, to lap the shore continuously until a gust of wind changes the pace. The different quality of light is a distinguishing factor, yet there is also trickery, for when he explored Hermanus the morning mist and soft mountains folding into the sea had an Irish rather than a southern African feeling to it. The sea does this to sea lovers the world over – we carry ‘our’ sea within us so that it informs our universal experience of other seas, other climates.

Closer to home and his Dublin studio is the River Dodder, with currents of a very different kind from those hosted by the great Atlantic Ocean.  This group of riverbank paintings is redolent of leafy summer growth and the gentle ebb and flow of water levels nudged by the river’s currents. The sections he explores are ordered around three horizontal layers either seen at a distance as in the grand Riverbank IV, or by zooming in close for the Water Level series.

Teskey’s works are held in national, corporate, university and private collections throughout Ireland, including the National Gallery of Ireland, The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, The Arts Council of Ireland and the Limerick City Art Gallery.

Selected works


Donald Teskey: Currents press release