Mary Ronayne Explores the Joys of Life in ‘Fool’s Paradise’

Mary Ronayne explores the joys of life in Fool’s Paradise at HOFA Gallery
in her autumn exhibition from 16th-29th September 2021. The contemporary Irish figurative painter and multimedia artist known for her whimsical portraits unveils new, large-scale artworks in her London solo show.

In this show, Mary elevates comedy, wit, and fun to a level of purpose never before seen in her work, paving the way for farcical elements like melting faces and candy pop colours to become celebrations of the fluidity of time, identity, and life. This fluidity, which underpins the resilience of a world gleefully returning to normalcy after the harrowing experience of a pandemic, is both literal and symbolic.

Mary Ronayne, Darlington Family Portrait, 2021, enamel on wood panel (120 x 90 cm)

Juxtaposed with scenes drawn from historical narratives and classical literature, it affirms the enduring elements of humanity in the carefree spirit fans have come to love about her work.


Mary Ronayne’s technique of combining enamel and domestic paints is as much responsible for her charming style as her widely sourced subject matter. It plays a major role in the look and finish of her works which often contrast a glossy, vitreous shine with a more staid, matte texture. Enamel paint is also how the artist creates the gooey, farcical candy-like look, an unmistakable element of her signature style.

Mary Ronayne, Celeste’s Liquid Lunch with Friends, 2021, enamel on wooden panel, (150x120x4 cm)

Drawing inspiration from a rich and diverse universe that includes magazine cut-outs, classical art, historical literature, movies, plays and operas, Mary’s artworks are a tribute to life even when their undercurrent of Hogarthian satire and allegory are hard to deny. Mary has always employed humour as a tool to break the ice, disarming and drawing viewers in for a closer look while also conveying poignant critiques of the times.

Mary Ronayne in her studio

Artist Mary Ronayne says about her show, “Like most artists, the burden of navigating a pandemic and lockdown on the human psyche is not lost to me. I’m really looking forward to a better autumn season than what 2020 afforded us, and I want to celebrate this in my new body of work. It’s time for some joy.”

See also: The Arts Society Hosts a Celebration of Art History

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