In the past Gary Coyle has made charcoal drawings based on photographs of crime scenes, mug shots of convicted killers, sets of pornographic films and images culled from the contemporary mediascape. His images are dispassionately and precisely transcribed from their sources. The effect is forensic and downbeat, hyperreal rather than real as the distinction between reality and image becomes effaced. At its core, the fascination with violent crime that Coyle explores is ambivalent and voyeuristic.
In his recent exhibition Southside Gothic (2007) Coyle explored his fascination with death, Gothic and the sublime via his local environment of Dun Laoghaire, 7 miles south of Dublin. Over the past decade Coyle has continually explored his hometown via a variety of means including drawing, photography and performance. Since the summer of 1999 he has almost swam daily in the Irish Sea at Sandycove (beside the Martello tower which houses The James Joyce museum and where Ulysses begins). In a performance/ ritual he documents his swims using a waterproof camera, found objects, maps and notebooks.
Since 2000 Coyle has photographed places in Dun Laoghaire, mostly to do with death, and has written stories to accompany them. These images and texts eventually became Death in Dun Laoghaire - a slide show/ performance/ publication for which he received an Irish Arts Council Projects Grant and performed during the Dublin Fringe Festival in 2005 and again in 2006. In Death in Dun Laoghaire Coyle combined many of the themes and subjects he has explored in previous exhibitions such as crime scene photographs, the urban landscape and an interest in the every day and local.
Gary Coyle is a graduate of NCAD and the RCA London. Recent solo shows include Southside Gothic at Kevin Kavanagh Gallery (2007), Death in Dun Laoghaire performed at Project Arts Centre, Dublin (2006), The Wild Wild Wood (2004), The Floating World (2002), and Ad Marginem (2000). He has received various awards including Visual Arts Bursaries from the Arts Council of Ireland, 2005, 2003, 2001, & 1998, Ballinglen Fellowship 2003, Artists Work Programme IMMA 1997-8, The RHA annual drawing prize 1999 and 2007 and a Henry Moore Foundation Fellowship in 1995. Coyle is currently working on an Arts Council of Ireland/ Project Arts Centre commission to write and present a performancebased around his daily swimming ritual which will be presented to the public in October 2008. In 2010 Coyle will have a major solo exhibition at the Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin.