Referencing Botanical Illustration

Michael Canning was born in Limerick in 1971 and he studied sculpture at the Limerick Scholl of Art & Design and the School of Fine Arts, Athens. He received his Masters Degree from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin in 1999.Canning is a contemporary painter whose works seem to conjure references to Renaissance/traditional paintings as well as botanical illustration. Building up his paintings in layers, using oil paint and wax as well as ground earth, ash or soot he creates an atmospheric and melancholic tone.

View “The May’ within the Collection

The May by Michael Canning

The May by Michael Canning

Questions Memory and Experience

“My practice is as concerned with the manipulation of materials in order to question memory and experience as it is with addressing representation, classification, order, disorder, landscape and northern European painting heritage. I am interested in the transformative processes in the making of the work. Every action that contributes to the end image is loaded and part of a process of unearthing meaning from memory.[….] I find these plants on daily walks near my home in County Limerick. The names of the plants are not important to me. Many of them I know by local names. Some of them are known to be poisons or remedies. Others have had traditional uses as fabric dyes or colourings. I often find plants I do not recall having seen before. When I’m out I’m not always looking for revelations, apparitions. I’m just looking for that which I feel I should have seen before, but never did.” – Michael Canning



National College of Art and Design, 1997 – 1999

Limerick School of Art and Design,1995 – 1996, 1989 – 1992

School of Fine Arts, Athens, Greece, Greek Government Scholarship,1992 – 1993,

Selected One Person Exhibition

Waterhouse & Dodd, London, 2012

Ballinglen Artists Foundation, Mayo, 2012

Catherine Hammond Gallery, Cork,2012

Hillsboro Fine Art, Dublin,2011

Waterhouse & Dodd, London,2010

Waterhouse & Dodd, London, 2008

Vangard Gallery, Cork,2008

Waterhouse & Dodd, London,2007

Vangard Gallery, Cork,2006

Hallward Gallery, Dublin, 2006

Vangard Gallery, Cork,2004

Hallward Gallery, Dublin,2003

Vangard Gallery, Cork,2002

Bourn-Vincent Gallery, University of Limerick,2002

Limerick City Gallery of Art, 1997

Galway Arts Centre,1996

Arts Council of Ireland, Dublin,1994

Belltable Arts Centre, Limerick,1994

Gallery 7, Athens,1993

Selected Group Exhibitions

SO Fine Art, Dublin, 2013

Hillsboro Fine Art, Dublin, 2012

The Original Print Show, Waterhouse & Dodd, London,2012

Interlude, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin,2011

Hillsboro Fine Art, Dublin,2010

RHA Open Exhibition, RHA Gallagher Gallery, Dublin.2009 , Also 1997-99, 2001-2008

Ballinglen Artists Foundation, Mayo,2009

Hillsboro Fine Art, Dublin,2007

Presence, Limerick City Gallery of Art,2007

Pallas Contemporary Projects, Dublin,2007

Into Landscape, Macroom, Co. Cork, Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda

Co. Louth, Bourne Vincent Gallery, Limerick, Galway Arts Centre, Sligo Art Gallery, 2007

Irish Art, John Martin Gallery at Lalique, New York,2006

An Irish Landscape, John Martin Gallery, London,2006

From Landscape, Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray, Limerick City Gallery of Art,

Galway Arts Centre, Crawford Municipal Gallery, Cork,2005

Éigse International Arts Festival, Carlow,2005

Stephen Lacey Gallery, Art2004 London, London,2004

Art of the State, Office of Public Works, Touring Exhibition,2004

John Martin, London,2003

Vangard Gallery, Cork,2003

Size Matters, Stephen Lacey Gallery, London,2002

EV+A 2001, Limerick (Selector, Salah M. Hassan),2001

Éigse International Arts Festival, Carlow, 2000

International Drawing Biennial, Chateau du Puget, Alzonne, France, 1999

EV+A 1999, Limerick (Selector, Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn),1999

Lingua Occulorum, Belltable Arts Centre, Limerick,1997

Victor Treacy Award Exhibition, Butler Gallery, Kilkenny,1996

EV+A 1995, Limerick (Selector, Maria De Corral), 1995

EV+A 1994, Limerick (Selector, Jan Hoet),1994

Quadrant, Belltable Arts Centre, Limerick,1993

La Maison des Pages, Bibliotheca Wittockiana, Brussels,1993

EV+A 1993, Limerick (Selector, Gloria Moure),1993


Ballinglen Arts Foundation Fellowship, Co. Mayo,2007

The Oriel Gallery Award, Royal Hibernian Academy,2007

Fergus O’Ryan RHA Memorial Award, Royal Hibernian Academy,2006

BIDA Silver Award, Best Solo Exhibition, ArtLondon 2004,2004

Hennessy Craig Award, Royal Hibernian Academy,2003

Arts Council of Ireland,1996

EV+A Open Award, Limerick,1995

Arts Council of Ireland,1994

Greek Government Scholarship,1992

Selected Articles and Reviews

Peter Crack, The Original Print Show, Apollo, December,2012

Jonathan Jones, Michael Canning, The Guardian, March 23rd,2012

Sue Hubbard, Michael Canning, Irish Arts Review, Autumn,2010

Aidan Dunne, Review, Irish Times,April 12, 2006

Paul O’Reilly, Traces of Utopia, Irish Arts Review, Spring, 2006

Mark Ewart, Review, Irish Times, October 30,1998

Marianne Hartigan, Aspects of Love, Sunday Tribune, November,2003

Aidan Dunne, Review, Irish Times, November 21st, 2003

Paul O’Reilly, Hennessy Craig Scholarship, Irish Arts Review, Autumn, 2003

Aidan Dunne, Review, Éigse, Irish Times, June, 2000

Mark Ewart, Review, Collision, Irish Times, August, 1998

Dougal McKenzie, Review, Lingua Occulorum, Circa No.81, Autumn,1997

Tom O’Reilly, Review, Irish Times, October, 1996

Tom Duddy, Review, Circa No.78, Winter, 1996

Luke Clancy, Review, Irish Times, February, 1995

Aidan Dunne, Review, Sunday Tribune Magazine, February, 1995

Louise Masterson, Review, Circa No..69, Autumn, 1994

Brian Coates, Review, Irish Times, June, 1994


Contact Information



Twitter: Twitter: @canningmichael