Conolly, born in 1918, has been a successful artist for many years having his work shown in the highly influential 1944 Exhibition of Subjective Art.
His paintings are sitting in both public and private collections in countries including Ireland, England, the USA and Israel.
Conolly was a prominent member of The White Stag Group which has been identified as a key movement in 20th century Irish Art. Key figures who have been associated with the White Stage Group are Irish born Patrick Scott, Stephen Gillbert, Brian Boydell, Gerard Dillon, Nick Nicholls and Doreen Vanston.
Conolly has recently returned to painting and his latest exhibition presents a selection of recent abstract and semi-figurative works, as well as a number of original drawings and limited edition prints from the Scribbleheads series.
One of the more interesting aspects of Conolly’s work is that over time many of the paintings have altered, not because the materials have deteriorated, but because the artist has continued to develop them, adding and scraping, until they represent precisely what he wants to express.
Conolly’s paintings are not narratives. Through the signs and the materials that he uses, his paintings weave an allusive and magical web that works on our sensibilities and emotions.
The central aims of Conolly’s work are summed up in the words of art critic Herbert Read, who provided Conolly with guidance and inspiration during his career.
Speaking at the introduction of the 1944 Exhibition of Subjective Art, Read said, "If we meet a stranger, we do not know what his voice will sound like, nor even if he will speak our language. We wait expectantly. In much the same way we should wait for a work of art to speak to us. We should give our senses a chance ... a chance to react without prejudice to the language of form and colour.”