Leonard Sexton

The Man Behind The Paintings: Leonard Sexton

Leonard Sexton, painting now for 30 years, studied painting under Patrick Graham, one of Ireland’s most renowned contemporary artists. He taught for some years after graduation, before embarking on a career which saw him rapidly develop his own individual style, as well as creating a following which has resulted in several sell-out exhibitions.

Leonard Sexton�s practice is concerned with projecting a visual embodiment of reality in a state of constant flux. His paintings are compilations of marks referencing continuously evolving change and movement – extending to Sexton�s �real-time� process of mark-making. Sexton�s physical process has been referenced by Crawford Gallery director Peter Murray as �layer upon layer, using drips, accidents, the transparency of linseed oil and the opaqueness of pigment…� and summarised as �explorations of the vocabulary of painting.�

Much of his output to date has explored the female form in a series of beautifully executed paintings, alongside his signature landscape works of his home town of Skerries. Sexton has also created a series of very individual interpretations of the London cityscape, where layers of pigment are presented in an almost sculptural way to evoke a sense of space in the city, executed in a style not dissimilar to the work of Giacometti, somebody who has had an acknowledged influence on this artist�s work. A closer study will also perhaps reveal certain influences from such people as Freud and Balthus.

Working from his studio, Leonard creates work that is haunting and thought provoking. His painting technique is based on a system of overpainting, where he paints over the image until it is barely visible, leaving only the impression of a fleeting subject. In doing so, every mark is as important as the next, as layer upon layer, the process itself creates the image.

He describes the act of painting as an ever-evolving state. “Beyond the dimensions of style and technique, the image takes over. Thereafter the works enter an unspoken world where they comfortably or uncomfortably exist. In my work images of reality are in a state of constant flux, scarred by the marks of change and movement. The images I create make reference to what is gone and what is to come. Everything in existence fights for survival and ultimately loses; time moves on. Where there are no figures, I believe there is an overwhelming sense of a space one has just occupied, while waiting for a reappearance. My paintings exist in a dimension where sensory perception tries to take over from visual awareness. In the search for the unattainable, one hopes to stumble upon something of relevance.”

Seascapes, Seamus Ennis Art Center Ireland. April to June 2017
Somewhere City paintings, The Doorway Gallery, Dublin. March 2017
An image of Ireland, Contemporary Artists of Ireland. Benetton Collection. 2016
New Waves Exhibition, The House Restaurant Houth Co, Dublin. Feb 2016,
Buro Four – Thirty for Thirty competition selection at the National Theatre – Sept 2015
AAF London – Doorway gallery – June 2015
SCOOP and Paolo Tullio have asked 35 of Ireland’s most loved artists to produced an artwork and a brilliantly creative recipe to go along with it. Launch September 2015
Painting and Sculpture exhibition, Candid Arts Trust , Islington, London EC1 – June 2015
London Irish Art 2015, Central Hall Westminster, London – Jan 2015
Nathan Fagan Guimond – philosopher, releases a documentary – Leonard Sexton 30 years painting – 2014
The Over Familiar, Marburae Art Gallery Macclesfield, Cheshire – Nov 2014
Embassy Tea Gallery, The Curator – OBSESSION, London – 24th – 29th June 2014
TIAF London – 16th – 20th October 2013
Torr Vale Mill – New Mills Art, Derbyshire Open Arts festival 25th – 27th May 2013
The Big Egg Hunt 2013
Ranelagh Art Festival 15th – 30th Sep 2012
Self – Garter Lane Arts Centre Waterford (2012) Until 31 May 2012
Art Miami (2012)
Emma Pearson from the National Gallery of Ireland interviews Leonard about the ideas that shape his work for The Arts Show Dublin City fm. (2011)
The Bloomsbury Art Fair – London (2011)
POP UP, L. Sexton – 197 Piccadilly London (2010)
The Mile End Road series – City Hall London
Tide out Tower Bridge – CGP London
Edinburgh Art fair
Art Palm Beach
Art Chicago
The Broken Halos collection are currently displayed at University College Dublin 2014.
A series of Tarot card paintings for the subject of a feature film 2012