Paddy Lamb: Biography

Paddy Lamb

Paddy in his studio in Edmonton.

Paddy Lamb was born in the city of Armagh, Northern Ireland. He studied Modern History at Trinity College, Dublin, and Physical Education and History as a post-graduate at the University of Alberta. He moved to Canada in 1985 and subsequently worked as a historian and archivist before devoting himself to a full-time career as a visual artist. His work is strongly influenced by history, memory and social culture, offering a personal narrative concerning human migration and attachment to the land.

Paddy is the recipient of several scholarships and awards from the City of Edmonton and the Province of Alberta. He is a past-president of Visual Arts Alberta and is currently Alberta’s representative on the National Board of CARFAC [Canadian Artists Representation/le Front Des Artistes Canadien]. In 2009 and 2011 Paddy was awarded a fellowship and residency at the Ballinglen Arts Foundation in Ballycastle, Co. Mayo, and in 2013 he was awarded a residency at the Thomas Gushul Studio in Blairmore, Alberta. He has exhibited widely in Edmonton and Alberta, as well as in Vancouver and Ireland, and his work can be found in various public and private collections.

Rather than confining a definition of landscape to the sensations that accompany the first encounter, I am more interested in what the author, Robert MacFarlane, describes as landscapes which are “withdrawn from actuality” but inhabited by memories to which we form deep and lasting attachments. My work explores the imprint of society on nature in a variety of locations. More recently this has led to an interest in aspects of abandonment, neglect and disuse as part of the physical landscape.

While these reminders of human attachment become the subject matter for paintings and drawings, their original purpose is often secondary to the studio process. Tested by time and imprinted in memory, they develop a different significance, representing a personal description of time and place. Just as much a ‘marker’ as any purpose-built structure, they also question the traditional, inadequate definition of ‘monument’.

This is in part a reaction to various aspects of society, including the capacity to rapidly discard objects and ideas as part of a constant search for the new. As a consequence, the flawed and the incomplete often become more meaningful than the ideal. However, it is also an acknowledgement of the role of landscape as a repository for our history, culture and collective memory. My work is also a form of self-examination – a search for alternatives that continues to define my own ‘sense of place’.