Paint is its own bosssometimes its better just to observe how it wants to becolours and shapes emerge and if they work they stay, if not they are wiped away. This process can continue for months, sometimes years

Martin Finnin

Born in Limerick in 1968 Martin Finnin studied at Limerick School of Art and briefly at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. He then moved to London, working on building sites, and using his spare time to draw and study at the National Gallery, where he became fascinated in early Renaissance painting. He then travelled to Mexico, taking a studio and holding his first solo exhibition in 1988 at San Miguel de Allende. He returned to Ireland holding further exhibitions throughout the 1990’s whilst continuing to travel through Europe and Ireland.


As he developed his work Finnin became fascinated in the difficulties of working and thinking in a purely abstract way.  The influences he discovered on his travels may haves shaped him as a painter, but they did not directly effect the paintings. If there is one constant thread in his work, it is that not a single element should be recognisable: not a sign or symbol or combination of colours that may hint at something external. To be complete and finished, the paintings must exist in their own right, not in reference to anything else. Weightless, freed from our need to impose meaning, his paintings create a space that is new and continuously fascinating. Don’t try and understand Finnin’s paintings; they defy any attempts to be read or interpreted, they exist only in themselves, describing things there are no words for.


Join Our Guestlist

Selected Works

Solo Exhibitions

2021 An Uncouth Song, John Martin Gallery, London
2019 A Year in Berlin, John Martin Gallery, London
2018 Go, Go Pitch Black Night!, John Martin Gallery, London
2016 The Garden of Opposites, John Martin Gallery, London
2015 The Wolf of Eyelash Mountain, John Martin Gallery, London
2014 Renegade Amongst the Dusty Nouns, John Martin Gallery Chelsea, London
2012 Dust, Dots and a Day in the Maze, John Martin Gallery, London
2010 49 Ox Hides and a Lump of Faith, John Martin Gallery, London
2009 (Hairy hearts of heroes), Origin Gallery, Dublin
2008 Turn the Lemon Page, Cill Rialig Arts Centre, Ballinskelligs, Kerry
2007 A snippet from the seventh soup, Vangard Gallery, Cork
2006 The world is blue like an orange, New Urban Retreat Gallery, Dublin
2005 Stepping out of the stream of time, Printmakers Gallery, Limerick
2005 Life beyond the hedge, Cill Rialaig Art Centre, Ballinskelligs, Co Kerry
2005 A miracle outside the window, Form Gallery, London
2003 The Marching Hugs, Origin Gallery, Dublin
2003 Meanwhilea foreign land, Vangard Gallery, Cork
2003 The origins of optimism, Printmakers Gallery, Limerick
2002 Songs of a recluse, Vangard Gallery, Cork
2002 In Fall, Ashford Gallery, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin; Printmakers Gallery, Limerick
2002 Vermont Studio Gallery, Vermont
2001 A subtle consolation of existance, Vangard Gallery, Cork
1997 The Big Picture, Printmakers Gallery, Limerick
1997 Forest of Banquets, Tig Filí Gallery, Cork
1996 Spionza, Blackcombe Gallery, Cork
1995 Triskel Art Centre, Cork
1995 Ivory Tower Restaurant, Cork
1994 Jo Rain Gallery, Dublin
1994 Art Hive, Cork
1993 Blackcombe Gallery, Cork
1991 Lost Boys Coffee Shop, Harlem, Holland
1991 Everyman Palace, Cork
1990 Iveagh Markets, Dublin
1988 La Galleria Lucierna, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico


Group Exhibitions

2018 London Art Fair, London
2017 Summer Exhibition, John Martin Gallery, London
2015 Summer Exhibition, John Martin Gallery Chelsea, London
2013 Art13 , Olympia Exhibition Centre, London
2013 Arte Fiera, Bologna, Italy
2012 Art Toronto, Toronto, Canada
2009 Jack Donovan and Martin Finnin, Printmakers Gallery, Limerick
2008 Killarney Gallery, Killarney, Dublin
2007 Art London, John Martin Gallery, London
2007 Colourfields, an driocht, Dublin
2006 Art London, John Martin Gallery, London
2006 Royal Hibernian Academy (Summer Show)
2006 Cill Rialaig Arts Centre, Ballinskelligs, Co Kerry
2005 Tribute to Beckett, Vangard Gallery, Cork
2004/2005 The People’s Gallery, Cork
2003 Myth and Magic, Lavit Gallery, Cork
2002 RHA Annual Exhibition, RHA Gallagher
2001 Iontas 2001, Sligo Art Gallery; Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast
2000 Crawford Art Gallery, Cork
2000 Tom Climent, Martin Finnin, Brian Smyth, Lavit Gallery, Cork
1998 Sense of Cork, Crawford Art Gallery, Cork


Awards and Residencies

2009 Dedaldo Art Competition, Tuscany
2008 Cill Rialig Art Centre, Ballinskelligs, Co Kerry (artist’s residency; also 2005, 2006)
2004 Dedaldo Art Competition, Tuscany (also 2005,2006; 1st prize, 2004)
2002 Cill Rialaig Art Centre, Ballinskelligs, Co Kerry (artist’s residency; also 2005, 2006)
2002 Vermont Studio Center, USA(painting scholarship)
1998 Department of Foreign Affairs (Cultural Relations Committee Award)
1998 Vermont Studio Center, USA (fellowship award)
1998 Nominated by Crawford Art Gallery for Glen Dimplex
1995 Sense of Cork, Crawford Art Gallery, Cork (prizewinner)
1995 An Chomhairle Ealaion / The Arts Council bursaries (studio rental, 1995, 2001; materials grant, 1997, 2001; Artflight, 1996)