Liam Belton


b. 1947, Dublin

Liam Belton was born in Dublin in 1947 and educated at the National College of Art from 1966 to 1972. He was elected Member of RHA in 1991 and served as Keeper from 1995 to 2001. Having had four solo exhibitions at the Peppercanister Gallery, his most recent  show was in September 2006. He has also shown at the Tom Caldwell Gallery, Dublin; Frank Lewis Gallery, Killarney; Riverrun Gallery, Dublin, the Oisin Gallery, Dublin and Ib Jorgensen Fine Art, Dublin.

Belton is renowned as a master of the still life and today his name is synonymous with these extraordinarily realistic compositions, meticulously rendered in his characteristic cool tones. His placing and delineation of simple household objects such as eggs, cheese boxes and ceramic pottery is individual and masterly in the traditions of the Italian painter Morandi, and at times reminiscent of William Scott, R.A. and Charles Brady, HRHA. His attention to detail and texture has been described as evocative of the great tradition of Netherlandish Renaissance painting. His still lifes are unique in their treatment of subject matter: the egg is ever-present and forms an elemental part of the composition. Another striking aspect is the juxtaposition of ordinary everyday objects with the unusual. The placement of the objects in relation to each other is of utmost significance, with emphasis on the spaces between. Belton’s approach to his subject matter is minimal, creating the transcendental timeless quality that appeals to so many.

A skilled draughtsman Belton exhibited some stunning nudes, executed in graphite, in his 2004 Peppercanister exhibition. He has also displayed mastery on paper throughout the years in the painting of landscapes. For one series of work, the artist traveled about the island of Ireland viewing and painting ancient standing stones, dolmens and stone circles. The resulting works are dream-like and evocative of a pre-historic time, yet rendered with a modern vision.

Visitors to the 2004 Annual Exhibition of The Royal Hibernian Academy will have seen his monumental relief white and ochre painting of Kilclooney Dolmen in County Donegal, which was purchased by the Government for presentation to the spectacular new Scottish House of Parliament in Edinburgh. Belton’s abiding interest in sculptural forms surfaced once more in this work of art with the Dolmen standing proud of the painted surface. The artist incorporated some Ardara sand in the pigment with which he painted in the rough track to the ancient monument.

In his prime as a visual artist, Belton demonstrates mastery in landscape and figurative compositions as well as in still life and interior arrangements. His art is cool and singular in the Irish artistic canon and his work is greatly sought after. He has rightly earned a major reputation which has spread beyond these shores.

Belton is a member of Visual Artists Ireland (formerly Sculptors Society), Artists Association of Ireland, Haverty Trust Committee and was formerly a member of the Board of the National Gallery of Ireland. His work is to be found in the following public collections: Allied Irish Banks, Dept of Labour, Office of Public Works, National Self-Portrait Collection, Limerick University, Greyfriars Municipal Art Gallery, Waterford and many other corporate and private collections.