Jo Killalea

Jo Killalea is a visual artist based in Swinford, Co Mayo. A concern with social, economic and environmental justice issues at local and global levels is the perspective that she brings to her practice. She graduated in Fine Art from GMIT Mayo Campus with a distinction at ordinary level in 2013 and with a first class honours degree in 2019. She was awarded the Academic Achievement Award and Ballinglen Arts Foundation Student Bursary, which included a residency in February 2020 followed by a solo exhibition early in 2021.

She has exhibited her work extensively in Ireland, including a solo exhibition in 2013 Picture Inequality: Challenge to Indifference at the Custom House Studios & Gallery in Westport.  She completed mixed media paintings and sculptural installations on mental health in Off the Wall at GMIT Castlebar in 2015, and for a three person show The State We’re In at the MART Gallery Dublin in 2016.

Her paintings have been included in curated group shows including the RDS Student Art Awards 2012; RHA Annual Exhibition 2012 and 2018Claremorris Open Exhibition 2014; Lonely Planet at The Luan 2015; Mayo God Helps Us at Claremorris Gallery in 2015 and Mayo Day 2018 and 2019. She has been awarded residencies at Ballinglen Arts Foundation (2020); Cill Rialaig Artists Retreat (2019, 2017 & 2014); Tyrone Guthrie Centre (2015); GMIT Mayo Campus (2015). Her paintings are held in significant public collections including Mayo County Council (2013) and the Office of Public Works (2018).

‘The motivation for my work comes from a desire to transform facts about important social, economic and environmental issues into work that is both aesthetically engaging, and may also evoke a deeper understanding or empathy in audiences. There is a continuity of influence and processes in my practice, where the connections between local and global concerns are referenced on issues such as inequality, migration, land use and climate change. Themes are researched and data is abstracted from source materials for paintings on canvas, board or paper using a limited palette of earth colours. The recurring motifs, shapes and marks that I use (mounds /cairns, dots, lines and strokes) reference aspects of the landscape, heritage and social history of the West of Ireland where I live. Titles are an important aspect of each painting, communicating information for the viewer to facilitate insight and understanding.’