The built environment has always been central to my work. Most of my work to date has been Dublin situated. Examining the suburbs of my childhood has helped me to make sense of my world as well as providing me with a rich supply of aesthetic material to explore through painting. I first studied my own family home, a 1950’s South Dublin Semi-D, before turning my attention to homes of friends and neighbours. I have explored Goatstown, Taney, and Clonskeagh as well as making brief excursions into Ballinteer, Blackrock and Clontarf (all leafy middle-class suburbs dating from the 1950’s and ‘60’s). More recently, HOUSE PORTRAITS (commissioned by Tallaght Community Arts) introduced me to local authority houses in Jobstown in West Tallaght and now TOWNSCAPE has provided me with an opportunity to explore homes in the rural midlands town of Stradbally. Domestic spaces fascinate me. Our homes are extensions of ourselves. Peoples’ lives are reflected in the layers of history that are present in the décor, furniture and artifacts that populate each house. Every room can tell a story. Behind each front door there are rich visual narratives to explore. Home spaces are constantly evolving, being altered, adapted, extended, repaired, and redecorated. A single visit to a house can reveal just a moment in the history of that space. ‘Home’ can have many manifestations and isn’t always solely tied to a particular building or dwelling place and, sometimes, may be also about a connection to family, friends and communities. A home can provide a feeling of security, safety and well-being, an anchor, that gives a sense of stability and belonging. I very much enjoyed my many trips to Stradbally receiving a warm welcome in each of the unique homes I visited. Unlike the homogeneous appearance of the exteriors of many of the Dublin housing estates that I have painted I found the homes in Stradbally to be remarkably varied and individualistic despite being in very close proximity to one another and their interiors were no less diverse. Once inside I was treated to a veritable feast of artifacts, ornaments, textures, patterns and colour that both stimulated and challenged me technically. I have lived with all of these spaces in my studio for the past two years and have developed an affection for their distinctiveness and individulality. I hope that each family will feel that I have done their homes justice in these works. Mary Burke TOWNSCAPE MARY BURKE - From the Suburban to the Rural 8