Biography

BrianBio

Brian Whelan grew up in London, of Irish parents. After his training at the Royal Academy of Arts, he lived and worked in the East Anglia area of England near the North Sea for over 25 years.
 
Brian’s journey as an artist began its definitive gateway just outside his own studio door, in the medieval churches and dwellings of East Anglia. The vestiges of the medieval art form resonate with Brian’s Irish Catholic roots, back to a time when there was one church and from its painted walls great stories were told. His oeuvre, like much medieval art, depicts a sublime comedy of life’s glories and tragedies.
 
In addition to painting religious subjects, Brian also feels compelled to paint London, the city of his birth. He has discovered that only from the safety of his studio in the countryside can he produce these cityscapes, as if memory proves to be the only way the vast subject matter can be put into a work of art. He accomplishes this by using multi-perspectives and contradictory scales, bending, twisting and organising the urban chaos into harmony.
 
Brian was profiled on the Sacred Art Pilgrim website in November 2018.  At least 7 of Brian’s works are among the prodigious collection of John Kohan.
 
Brian’s work has been exhibited extensively and highlights from the recent past include his 2016-17 ‘Holy City’ solo exhibition at the Washington National Cathedral - a celebration of the three Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam and a March show in Middleburg, Virginia at the Madison Street Gallery. In June, Brian opened his studio for the Summer Solstice and again on Oct 6-8th 2017 for the Waterford Fair Home Tours.
 
2015 was devoted to Brian’s ‘The Passion of Edith Cavell’ exhibition, a commission from Norwich Cathedral. This international tour began in Washington DC at the National Cathedral in 2014, with a stop in early summer 2015 in Brussels and its final resting place and installation at Norwich Cathedral during September and October 2015, the 100-year anniversary of Edith Cavell’s execution.
 
The Exchange written by Brian and Jeff Frohner (Pastor of Our Saviour's Lutheran Church, San Clemente, California) was published in 2011 and in 2012 Brian showcased his cityscape paintings at the Royal Opera Arcade Gallery on Pall Mall, St James, London during the summer Olympics in a show opened by the Popes Band with three songs 'live and unplugged'. Also in 2012, Agenda Editions published An Unscheduled Life with words by award winning poet Joseph Horgan and drawings by Brian and Brian contributing to the group exhibition 'Art Alive' in honour of the late Mary Fedden at the Chelsea Westminster Hospital…also known as the 'Tate Hospital'.
 
2010 was devoted to an international tour of The Quiet Men with works inspired by the London-Irish diaspora. The tour began at West London’s PM Gallery, where award winning journalist Fergal Keane opened the exhibition; moved on to the Celtic Fringe show at the Liceo de Noya Institute in Galicia Spain; and the Villanova University Art Gallery in Philadelphia. The tour was accompanied by the publication of the London Irish Painting Book by the Irish Embassy and Irish World Newspaper.
 
Since 2013, he and his American wife, Wendy Roseberry, have split their time between the Waterford Studio in Virginia, the UK and Ireland, while Mandell’s Gallery on historic Elm Hill in Norwich, England continues to represent and exhibit Brian’s work in the UK.

''Clear, strong, prayerful work, with joy at its centre.''
Art critic Sister Wendy Beckett

“He goes to dark, grim places, places that in the modern world we like to pretend don’t exist and when he gets there he cracks jokes. This work is the work of the medieval jester.”
Joe Horgan, Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award winner

“It is rare to find a contemporary artist so confident in his portrayal of traditional religious themes.”
Rev. Canon John McLuckie, St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh

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