The Permanent Collections

Painting Collection

John Shinnors – Cows Come Home

Cows Come Home

Shinnors, John

Back to previous

1990, oil on cotton, diptych, 72.5 x 112 cm (gift of the e v+ a Committee in 1990)


John Shinnors (born 1950) was born in Limerick, where he still lives and works. He has exhibited extensively throughout Ireland since his first solo show in 1978, and continues to enjoy success at a national level. He trained under the guidance of Jack Donovan at Limerick School of Art, later moving to England for a short period, where he spent some time in a variety of jobs before returning home.

In the late evening mist, they move like a slow friesian train to the dairy. There are quite a few cows wandering around and grazing other painted pastures in this room. It is interesting to consider differences in how each artist treats this subject matter: Shinnors insinuates ‘cow’ in his paintings, where as the cow is very obviously present in the rather more realist work Limerick Landscape, painted by Dermod O’Brien in 1948.

Shinnors tends to work with a restricted palette, dominated by black and white (although he protests that it is not quite as limited as it sounds, as he uses five different shades of black). He enjoys using pattern, creating abstract images from which forms slowly emerge rather than presenting his subject in an obvious or instantly revealing way. Certain themes and motifs, namely cows, scarecrows, kites and lighthouses recur frequently in his work.

Frequently, contemporary painters face challenges from other media such as photography and video: why paint when you can quickly take a photograph? However, Shinnors remains deeply committed to painting as away of recording his impressions, ideas and feelings. For artists like Shinnors, the satisfaction of engaging in the process of painting, the sheer physical action of mixing and applying paint to canvas, and the ability to compose and recompose a scene while working on a single canvas, in their opinion, far outweighs the advantages of either photography or video.

















The Gallery Plan Your Visit Gallery Events Exhibitions The Collection Education Publications Media