IADT Art x Psychology @ St. Vincent’s University Hospital

I had the pleasure to contribute work to a collaboration between the Art and Psychology Departments of IADT. The project, initiated by psychology student Aoife McGuirk, aimed to evaluate the impact on the viewers of visual art. Details of my contribution to the project can be seen in my portfolio.

This work is concerned with cycles and rhythm. These works were developed from the study of the sea eroded cliff faces at Dalkey Strand, through observation of the surface of the rock carved out over time through the ebb and flow of the waves. Through a meditative drawing process, I use my hand to extract the rhythmic character of the cliff face. From these drawings, I have produced a series of rhythmic works. Opening (2018) uses the fluid qualities of sedimented paint to faithfully recreate the warbled cliff face. Following on from this study, I began to explore the flaked texture of the surface as it recedes over time, resulting in the 3-colour screen print, Recede (2020). Finally, in Flow (2020), I used paper collage and paint to build a sculpted surface that explores the repetitive flow of the sea as it repeatedly crashes against the rock, simultaneously destroying the rock while giving form to the resulting cliff face. It is this continuous exchange between the sea and cliff that I feel can remind us of the restorative nature of the continuous passage of time.

There is evidence that the display of visual art can have positive effects on health outcomes and wellbeing of patients, staff and visitors to hospitals.

Art can provide a positive distraction as well as moments of comfort and relief— “A painting transports me to a different place”. IADT Art students Steffi Kelly, Aoife Murphy and Katie Whelan recently created a series of paintings for exhibition in the Herbert Wing of St Vincent’s University Hospital.

They worked alongside Applied Psychology student Aoife McGuirk who charted the creative process of art students and tutors and aimed to evaluate the impact on the viewers of visual art.


Hanging pictures always gathers a crowd; it is so heart-warming to hear people discussing pictures, what they like, what they get from the image, what stories it provokes.  It provides a “sos beag” in what has been a hectic year.  We are so grateful for the energy that the students have put in to make the lives of the staff and the patients that little bit brighter.  We have big plans for future co-operation between IADT and St Vincent’s University Hospital

Dr Ian Callanan, St Vincent’s University Hospital
3-colour screen print
81cm x 59cm

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