Mieke Vermekelen

Based in Co. Kerry on the Beara Peninsula, Mieke Vanmechelen studied at Trinity College Dublin (BA) and The University of Wales, Cardiff. She has lived in Ireland for the last twenty five years coming from Flanders to Ireland at the age of six, she owes much of her artistic talents to her diverse origins.
Mieke grew up on her father’s Caha Mountain sheep farm near Kenmare Co. Kerry surrounded by the magical and mystical landscape which resonates so strongly through her work. Her mother’s connection with the Abbey Theatre Dublin and The Royal Academy Antwerp, were to create an artistic atmosphere which encouraged Mieke’s artistic talents from an early age. Influenced by Flemish painters and family friends Stan Baele and Lily Van Oost Mieke has painted for the last 10 years.

In 2001 Mieke had the opportunity to purchase her own farm in the Kenmare area and convert a farm dwelling, dating to 1800, into her studio. As well as being a full time painter she is an active member of the Kerry Cattle Breeder’s Society, based in Killarney. She grazes her own Kerry Black herd on hundreds of acres of Heritage Land at Bonane, Co. Kerry and also breeds Irish Sport Horses. These very rural aspects of Mieke’s life continually inspire her and allow her to paint as prolifically as she does. The contact and connection she has with the land and also the elements is of prime importance to her as a source of inspiration and individuality.

In June 2005 Mieke was personally invited by Noelle Campbell-Sharp to stay at the Cill Rialaig Artists Retreat in Kerry, and work with fellow Artists Liam de Frinse (Belfast) and Doris Bloom (Copenhagen). Mieke has to date worked on numerous private commissions and her work is held in private collections in Ireland and Scotland. She shows her watercolours at The Iverni Gallery in Kenmare, Co. Kerry and is currently working on a commission and has also been nominated to take part in The AIB Artist of Promise Prize 2006.

Content and Concept of Work

A lot of Mieke’s work is very large and her use of colour is vibrant yet natural. Her canvases are full of movement and project emotional strength.
Her work is not entirely abstract in its approach and can perhaps best be described as non-objective. One at all times feels a deep emotional attachment with the subject. There is within it a firm connection with the land and therefore also the landscape, these themes are somehow transposed into the expression of subconscious thoughts and ideas on canvas. For all the connections her work has with the outside world it also contains a very strong introspective element taking the viewer to diverse places of personal confrontation, revelation and inner peace. The work speaks to the viewer in a way that traditional painting has always done. The subject matter in the work can be defined according to the viewer’s personal interpretation. There is no formula for understanding the content of her work because it operates at the subconscious level.