Cecilia Danell (b.1985) is a Swedish artist based in Galway, Ireland. Her practice is process based, where accumulated research into landscape and the psychology of place is coupled with a strong interest in materiality and making. For over ten years, Danell has returned to her family farm in Sweden to walk and gather research material for paintings. The experience of being in the landscape, along with the physical process of painting in the studio, results in works that detach themselves from the photographic source material. She walks and traces an environment that she knows intimately, happening upon decaying remnants of human activity, further upending the romantic notion of nature as untended wilderness. Recent and ongoing research interests include the psychogeography movement and the psychological impact place has on a person, speculative fiction and Science Fiction novels. What strikes her about these novels is humanity’s ability to persevere and adapt in adverse circumstances. The human urge to find solace in a primeval landscape grows increasingly stronger amidst the uncertainty of our current condition. Yet wilderness is for the most part a construct and the places she depicts are managed forest landscapes. Her sculptural objects, which often accompany the paintings in the space, use the language of theatre props to construct objects with the surreal quality of being made in the likeness of something, yet falling short of true semblance.
Cecilia Danell is the 2022 recipient of the RHA Hennessy Craig Award for painting, the ESB Keating Award at the 190th RHA Annual Exhibition, a 2017 Arts Council Next Generation Award and the 2011 Wexford Arts Centre Emergence Award and has received several bursary and project awards from the Arts Council. Recent exhibitions include: ‘A Stillness Expanded’ (solo) Claremorris Gallery (2023), ‘Brush Lightly Through Fireweed Forests’ (solo) Kevin Kavanagh, Dublin (2022), ‘GENERATION2022: New Irish Painting’ Butler Gallery, Kilkenny (2022), ‘Parklife’ The Glucksman, Cork (2022), ‘Tactile Terrain’ (solo), Luan Gallery, Athlone (2022), The Hennessy Craig Award Exhibition, RHA, Dublin (2022), ‘I Trust The Quiet’ (solo), Burren College of Art Gallery, Co Clare (2021), ‘Mise en scène’, Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris (2021), I set a Bait for the Unknown’ (solo), Kevin Kavanagh, Dublin (2020), ‘In a Landscape’ (solo) Ashford Gallery, RHA, Dublin (2019), ‘Winter Wanderer’ (solo), Kevin Kavanagh, Dublin (2019), ‘Futures – Series 3 Episode 2’,  RHA, Dublin (2018), BEEP Painting Biennial, Swansea, UK (2018), ‘The Last Wilderness’ (solo), The Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon (2017) and Galway Arts Centre (2017). Residencies include Ballinglen Arts Foundation (2021), Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris (2020) and the Nordic Artists’ Centre Dale, Norway (2016) with a forthcoming residency at Interface Inagh in 2024 with writer Michaele Cutaya. Her work is in several public collections including the Arts Council, Trinity College, University College Cork, Ballinglen Arts Foundation, Galway City Council, Wexford County Council, Motala Municipal Council, Sweden and the Office of Public Works as well as private collections in Ireland, UK, Sweden, Canada, France and Norway. Cecilia Danell is represented by Kevin Kavanagh, Dublin. A book on Danell’s work with an essay by Cristín Leach was published by the gallery in 2021.