Marcus O’Mahony was described by Jim Dennison, head of design at the Limerick School of Art and Design (LSAD) as Ireland’s best-kept secret. His work headlined Ceramics Review 2006 where he was described as one of Ireland’s most innovative makers.
His work is influenced by the British Leach tradition and the Otis group in the United States. He sites architecture as a major influence on his work.
O’Mahony’s work is diverse both in material, from the fineness of porcelain to coarsely grogged stoneware, and in scale. From small cups, tea bowls, teapots to large collared bottles. Large work is surprisingly light, exemplifying O’Mahony’s ability to truly challenge the plasticity of his clay to the limit. He is equally passionate and physical about one small bowl or one large vessel. Many of O’Mahony’s pots receive no turning at all leading Ceramics Review to comment, “this may be the key to what instills his pots with an individual distinction, perhaps like the uniqueness of handwriting. The fluid calligraphic quality of O’Mahony’s throwing is thoroughly connected to his decorative methods.”
Pots are dampened, dipped with a smooth slip and then sometimes sprinkled with local ash. All of these decisions are made with the immediacy and confidence of a mature potter revelling in the play of abstraction and function. Everything about O’Mahony’s practice exudes deceptively simple spontaneous fluidity that comes from years of experience.
With local fuel and Wicklow granite there is the distinct sense of the indigenous, local and vernacular to O’Mahony’s work.