Colin Davidson is a contemporary Irish painter best known for his large-scale portraits, notably including celebrities such as actor Brad Pitt and Irish poet Seamus Heaney.
In 2019 Davidson’s self portrait, The Day I Heard That Mark Hollis Had Died (self-portrait), was shortlisted for a four month exhibition at Piano Nobile. As a result of the exhibition Davidson’s work was acquired by the National Gallery of Ireland where it has now found a home as part of the galleries permanent collection.
Davidson’s paintings use lush, painterly strokes with a horizontal blurring effect akin to the photographic paintings of Gerhard Richter, while nevertheless maintaining a realistic accuracy in color and proportion. “Most of my work features large amounts of paint applied with a palette knife, at some point—to build up texture—but the eyes are painted with a paintbrush and therefore are more realistic,” he has explained of his technique. “I choose to focus on the person when they are lost in thought and with that, there is often a vulnerability that comes through.” Born in 1968 in Belfast, Ireland, he went on to study at the University of Ulster, graduating in 1991. Davidson’s work is held in the collections of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., the Ulster Museum in Belfast, and the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin, among others. He lives and works outside of Belfast, Ireland.