1922 to 2006
Born in Dolgellau, Wales in 1922, she studied at Heatherly’s Art School and the Chelsea Art School in London, and St. Peter’s Loft in St. Ives, Cornwall studying under Peter Lanyon, who was a great inspiration to her. From him she learned about the spatial depth and movement of abstract expressionism and enjoyed his unconventional teaching methods, which involved encouraging students to engage with the rugged landscape in a more visceral manner. Her painting became bright and breezy, in keeping with the spirit of the place, and was meticulously crafted.
She was especially devastated by the death of Lanyon, following a gliding accident in 1964, but the presence of the painter and sculptor Conor Fallon provided her with empathy and solace, and they married in 1966 (he has since become one of Ireland’s leading sculptors).
In 1972 she moved to Kinsale, County Cork with her husband and their two children. At that time Wynne-Jones’s work became more intimate with a period of still life, and she started composing again. In 1988, the family settled in the more mountainous Rathdrum area of County Wicklow. She was now showing regularly, notably with the Taylor galleries in Dublin, and was elected an honorary member of the Royal Hibernian Academy.
The discovery, in the 1990s, of the large bogs of County Mayo came as a revelation to Wynne-Jones. It was her desire, she said, “to possess and be possessed” by this multi-textured landscape which galvanised her into a late flowering, blending abstract and figuration to convey the total sensation of atmosphere. Seamus Heaney referred to her paintings, earthy and moist, with rich warm, subtle ochres and reds, as “place and palette and spirit, all equal”.
She first held solo shows at the New Vision Centre, London (1962), Galleria Numero, Florence (1963), Dolgellau, Wales (1964), NVC, London (1965), and Project Arts Centre, Dublin (1970).