Bernadette Kiely grew up in Carrick on Suir, County Tipperary, Ireland graduating with first class honours in Graphic Design Communications from the College of Art and Design, Waterford (SETU). She worked in advertising, architecture and graphic design in London and New York before attending the Slade School of Fine Art, London. She lives and works in Thomastown. County Kilkenny.
Bernadette began painting full time in the early 90’s, her immediate neighbourhood by the river Nore in Thomastown, County Kilkenny being the driving force behind her work. Her sense that the story of her local ‘theatre of the everyday’ and the ‘now’ being the history and geography of the world informs her largescale paintings and drawings on canvas. Particularly drawn to and inspired by flooding, her work is responsive to environmental shifts, the effects of weather on land, rivers and on human lives. She depicts imagery that often veils what we are looking at and makes us think again; blankets of mist, fog, fire smoke, and floodwater. While inspiration often comes from the ground beneath her own feet, Bernadette’s imagery also comes from sources including her own photography, TV broadcasts, newspapers and online documentary images. Her work draws attention to a sense of unease and awareness of atmospheric conditions – and prompts us towards a fundamental reassessment of ourselves and our relationship to the world around us.
Recent Exhibitions include; The Contemporary British Painting Prize 2022, Huddersfield Art Gallery, Huddersfield, and Thames Side Gallery, London, UK, The Zurich Portrait Prize 2022, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin and the Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, (2023), ‘one touch of nature [makes the whole world kin]’, Taylor Galleries, (2020), How Much Land [does a man need], The Source Arts Centre, Thurles, Co. Tipperary (2019), ..tell me about your mother (feat. The Two Travellers), KAMERA 8, Wexford, curated by Anya Von Gosseln and touring to South Tipperary Arts Centre (Sept 2019); A problem with no solution | Kilkenny Arts Festival (2018); So Much Water (so) Close to Home, Luan Gallery, Athlone (2018).