Stephen Doyle is a visual artist based in Backwater Studios. A graduate of Crawford College of Art and Design (2017) with a BA in Fine Art. The artist is exploring issues of queer identity through the relationship between figuration and the politics of representation. Doyle makes figurative depictions of LGBTQIA+ people, and often includes objects in the paintings, a gesture of ‘othering’ the art that mirrors the subject matter it investigates.
Painting, and portraiture in particular, is associated with the iconography of power (for example politicians and religious figures), and consequently with mainstream worldviews, of which queer identity and culture have always been excluded. By invoking them, Doyle makes an ironic comment on the subalternisation of the existence of the LGBTQIA+ community, and simultaneously does their part to illuminate it. Recently their work has incorporated subjects of adversity through community based projects and psychoanalytic approaches of traumatic events relative to growing up queer in Ireland. This is an attempt to create public discourse around shared struggles and to evoke a sense of solidarity amongst the queer community within a national narrative.
They are the recipient of two International Art Prizes 'Ashurst Emerging Artist Prize' and 'Sunny Art Prize'. They were also shortlisted for the Zurich Portrait Prize, the work was later acquired by Crawford Art Gallery making it the first piece in the National Collection to openly discuss transgender/queer identity. They have had multiple solo exhibitions across Cork, Dublin, Kilkenny and London. Also, secured residencies with Backwater Artist Studios, Harmony Art Gallery, Butler Gallery and Cork Pride. Doyle has been granted the Visual Art Bursary Award (2020) by the Arts Council of Ireland, a second piece added to the National Collection of Ireland (2021), included in the Art History syllabus for the Leaving Cert and added to the peer panel for the Arts Council of Ireland. Most recently they were shortlisted for the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize (2022).