The Oral


Oil on Gesso Panel

48 x 24 inches (122 x 61 cm)

Left to right:

Caitlín deBurca, Ellen Murphy

Of all the paintings I did during the Commission this is the closest to a portrait. I had carefully steered away from that on most occasions because this project is about an institution and the community that use it and I didn't want to focus on any individuals. However I couldn't resist the formal pictorial possibilities that the Oral exam presented and in a way this shows what it all boils down to - the examination of a student by a teacher. They were just practicing of course for the exam. I wouldn't have got near it for a real exam. But it would look just the same.

“The first day I saw Blaise he was just finished his first painting of outside the front door of the school. There was a large crowd of students gathered around him and I could see why. The painting was amazing! He started coming round to our classes and one day I saw the painting of Ms. deBurca. I was amazed at how lifelike it looked.” Pauric Dempsey

All text and images © Blaise Smith 2017