(b. in 1958) in Ennis, County Clare, Ireland
“The art of portraiture in Ireland, as elsewhere, has been in steady decline since the age of Orpen and Lavery, despite the finest efforts of successors such as Leo Whelan and Seán O’Sullivan. It is therefore, to the credit of Mick O’Dea that he has done so much to revive the genre and bring it back into repute. This achievement is all the greater because O’Dea could never be accused of flattering his subjects: stylistically he is more Franz Hals than Rubens in ruthlessly recoding the ruddy cheek, the receding hairline, the sagging jowl, the slumped posture. In settings no less stripped back than his vision, flesh is treated simply as flesh and it comes as no surprise to learn that while at work O’Dea wears a butcher’s apron.
In his ridged adherence to the candid appraisal, his nearest equivalent is the British artist Lucian Freud. O’Dea’s sitters ought not to be vain or excessively sensitive about their appearance else they are liable to receive a cruel shock.”
– Robert O’Byrne. Dictionary of Living Irish Artists (2010)
Link to Shows,
Ceremony, 15 March to 14 April 2007