Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Thomas Keegan 

BA [Hons] Art

Thomas Keegan is an Irish, Dun Laoghaire-based, artist creating works in a variety of mediums such as printmaking, painting, sound and bookmaking. He makes abstract and figurative works based on varying themes like memory, death, the passing of time and personal experience while constantly experimenting and aiming to broaden his creative horizon. He spent a year studying in Helsinki, Finland, where he experimented in his multi-disciplinary practice. He has exhibited in group exhibitions such as Tuntemattomat, 2021 located in Helsinki and in IMMA in Symbiosis, 2019. He has been commissioned for murals in the Dublin area.

My practice revolves around a melancholic recording of time. Exploring different mediums to find ways of expressing and representing what once was. Memory is a pathway to discovering who one is or equally what one’s art might be. It takes the visionary and turns it into documentary. Remembering is a reflective process to which we are all partial. It is how we learn and grow as conscious beings. Your past is supportive to each of our singularity, it is a part of our everyday and is a limitless subject in art and culture itself. Memory is a catalyst for new thinking. Involuntary memory is a response from cues of all the senses, having lain forgotten it can be perceived in equidistance with experience in the present. In turn my art has become memory embodied in material and spatial conditions, it is my own visual narrative and inhabits my own history.

How Artists Deal With Memory

My thesis looks into the using one past experiences to create, the dipping into ones memories for inspiration. Taking trauma and giving it a physical form. How our memories shape our growth and how using memory as a motif can inspire art in many forms.
To do this it looks into one of the most well-known psychologists – Sigmund Freud along with Carl Gustav Jung which provides the theoretical background. Then it delves into the movement of Surrealism, its origin and its artists Emmanuel Radnizky and Salvador Dalí along with a key figure in the movement – André Masson. Surrealism is, at its core, tapping into the unconscious mind.
From there it looks into the works of three artists who have brushed shoulders with Surrealism and all of which utilise their past in their practice working through their grievances through art - Frida Kahlo, Louise Bourgeois and Tracey Emin.