"The language of painting has always inspired me. How you work with a very simple format, with a very simple material like canvas. All the magic, the wonder, it’s all there, there to be painted"
Sinéad's work to date has referred to spatial experience through her use of words in the Irish language that describe the lived environment. ‘Imlíne, Eatramh, Imeall, Ardán. This alliterative litany of nouns in Irish is derived from titles of solo exhibitions Ní Mhaonaigh has presented nationally and internationally in various venues over the past decade. As their equivalent terms in English, ‘Contour’, ‘Interval’, ‘Margin’, ‘Platform’ cumulatively suggest, a prevailing concern in her work is the elaboration and exploration of bounded space. Given the particular nature of her painting, we are free to interpret this primarily in formal terms, as a concern with the construction of a pictorial architecture; or, alternatively, we may opt to relate it to the distinct varieties of socio-cultural or symbolic space invoked in individual pictures, and sometimes affirmed by their attendant titles. Such openness to ambiguity is telling. After all, she has always drawn freely on the legacy of modernist abstraction, while remaining happy to accommodate what modernist painting’s sternest gatekeeper, the American critic Clement Greenberg, dismissed as ‘homeless representation’ more than half a century ago. This determined indeterminacy, if we might call it that, has been a consistent aspect of her working method from the outset. Sinéad prefers to regard vagueness as a virtue rather than a vice, and prizes evasion as a useful strategy for an artist.