Hugh G. Rice was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1946. He qualified in 1968 from St. Joseph’s College of Education, Belfast with an Art Teacher’s Certificate (Distinction), and a Certificate in Education (First). His early career was spent teaching Art and Design at secondary and tertiary levels in Belfast before he decided to teach in Zambia, Central Africa in 1974.
While in Zambia he was Artistic director to the Irish Wild Geese Association where his art work was prized for hotel and theatre displays. The latter part of his thirteen years in Africa were spent as professor of Art and Design Education, Teacher Training, at Evelyn Hone College, Lusaka, Zambia.
Upon his return to Ballycastle, Northern Ireland in 1986, Hugh extended his knowledge in the field of art education and obtained his BA and MA (Ed.) with the Open University, U.K. with a focus on modern painting techniques. Hugh has provided professional support to teachers in many primary and secondary schools in Northern Ireland as an Art Consultant for the North Eastern Education and Library board.
Hugh moved to Canada in 2004 to paint full time. Canadian winters, from January to early spring, are spent in Ballycastle, Northern Ireland. Summers and autumns are spent in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Hugh’s most recent solo exhibition “New Horizons” opened in October, 2011 at Woodlands Gallery. In 2008, he exhibited in a show called “Prairie In Sight” at Woodlands. He also exhibited at Woodlands Gallery in Winnipeg in May, 2007 in a collection called “From Irish Glen to Canadian Prairie. Hugh began his association with Woodlands Gallery as the featured artist in 2006 with his first group of prairie paintings which he called “Flatness In the Prairie”.
His work has appeared on the September, 2008 cover of “The Uniter” and in the Summer 2007 issue of “Galleries West”. In 2005, the CBC did a short piece on his work which was shown locally. In 1991, Hugh’s free standing sculpture called “Reflections” was displayed on Dame St. in Dublin as part of that city’s celebration as a European City of Culture.
Hugh’s work can be found in private collections not only in Canada and Ireland, but in Africa, the Netherlands, England, Israel, and Australia.
In Northern Ireland, his paintings are sold at Henry Gilmore Fine Art in Holywood and at The Battletown Gallery near Newtownards. In the Republic of Ireland, Janet Ross Fine Art in Letterkenny sells his work.
My work is pretty close to pure abstraction, with the landscape as a starting point. There is an active lively quality to my work which captures the mood of the land as much as the look of it. My techniques are loose and experimental. I spend a lot of time in the landscapes I paint often just sitting still within the spaces. My depictions of the Glens of Antrim, in N. Ireland, the mountains, bogland and patchwork fields, are painted using a monochromatic palette. Acrylic and oil is allowed to flow off the brush to reflect the mists and rain of an Irish glen.
In contrast, the vast Canadian prairies are represented on a larger canvas to capture the feeling of space. The vivid mixed media palette is applied in a variety of ways, usually without brushes.
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