This exhibition brings together thirteen contemporary Irish painters. It is a simple show proposition gathering new paintings from artists who explore paint in its gestures, surfaces, and how it can affect. The show title is a clear ploy. It is a show about painting and also about how painting can communicate. The exhibition title and display is made intricate through the works gathered, by the subject matters each of the artists investigates. It is not just a painting show. These new painting works sensitively explore contemporary times and concerns.
Debbie Dawson’s works on board abstract from aerial views creating ambiguous emotional landscapes fixed with distinct and asserted titles such as Bridge, Crossroads, and Blue Building. Colin Crotty’s work Musicianscontinues his practice’s exploration of figurative composition and his use of art historical motifs exploring social mimicry and displacement. Stephen Doyle’s painting Alex questions preconceptions on gender by using the painting of fabrics and other symbols. His work intends to break down illusionary cycles of perceived orders and stability of identity categories. Tommy Feehan’s painting uses vivid colour palettes and exciting forms in a playful manner. His works give rise to the prospect of formulating lesser-known aspects of self, revealing hidden emotions and desires. Helen Farrell’s Orbit 1 is one of an ongoing series of paintings, which on the surface are simply made up of an accumulation of lines from which creaturely forms emerge. The oil paint is kept very fluid to allow for a certain amount of slippage, keeping the image and it’s meaning hovering between emergence and disintegration, containment and release. Tom Climent’s use of colour and form communicates a sense of longing for utopian or spiritual places of living. His work gives hope that such destinations whether interior or exterior are within reach. Cassandra Eustace‘s work Naturally, You are Shapeless, is part of her practice of drawing and painting. This works continues her mark making as a way of instigating courage to reinvent the self, exploring the “hows and whys” of how we are influenced. Paul Hallahan’s work The Silence should be longer, explores perception; how we see and interact with the world. It’s abstract from and its title creates a moment of contemplation regarding our contemporary times of upheaval. Rebecca Bradley’s painting works concentrate on the process of memory. Through surface layering and deconstruction, she gives us landscape moments compelled by both secrecy and revelation. Lee Welch’s figurative paintings explore and negotiate the relationship between artist, subject and viewer. In an age dominated by the digital image, Welch cherishes the physicality of the human touch. His paintings are a flattening of forms, a simplification of detail, choosing to reveal sections of canvas and making careful use of them. Mags Geaney paintings interrogate how we are seduced by images, while also amplifying and transforming established acts into affective and dislocating moments. Through her treatment of images, she has created work that addresses emotions that lie just beneath the surface. Kevin Mooney work is fragmentary, historical and anarchic. His work challenges perceived notions of native folk cultures. His work, like Hybrid (Hee Haw) featured here, traverses boundaries of history and myth. His work reclaims his own cultural migratory past, and re-imagines an iconographic future. Sarah O’ Brien works explore the materiality of painting and collage. EasyEE is from her recent Dublin exhibition with Berlin Opticians, STRONG BRAVE STRONG. This work showcases how words and wordplay feature in Sarah’s practice in playful suspension. Words overheard, found, and repeated from everyday experience are used to create her works. They give thrill to her urgent making and her works’ expressive impact.
This is a Painting Show was reviewed in The Sunday Times Culture Magazine by Sarah Kelleher on 12/01/20
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