Thursday, April 15, 2010

Persephone Exhibition, The Bad Art Gallery, Dublin. April, 2010.

Thinking of Summer
71 x 61 cm
Oil on canvas

In this exhibition Persephone, I have found my source of inspiration from Greek mythology.  It is the story of Persephone’s abduction from her mother Demeter,  the earth goddess, by Hades, king of the underworld.  Demeter in her grief forbids the earth to produce, and in the depths of her despair causes nothing to grow.  When Demeter and her daughter are finally united, the earth flourishes with renewed vegetation and colour.  But before Persephone is released Hades tricks her into eating four pomegranate seeds, which forces her to return to the underworld as his queen for a season each year, when once again the earth becomes a barren realm. This is an origin story to explain the seasons.

Something about this ancient story intrigued and inspired me and I have interpreted it in my own way, picking out the visual and playful elements.  I have tried  to impart a seductive, wintry quality to my still lives and interiors, using warm siennas and umbers and thick white, creams and neutral layers of impasto oil paint applied with a palette knife. In some of my figurative paintings, I am trying to evoke that dilemma of being physically in one place but mentally in another. In this case, being locked in the cosy depths of winter, where the evenings draw in early and life becomes internalised,  yet dreaming and yearning for the summer, where time is stretched out in seemingly endless hours of daylight.

In this exhibition I have attempted to expand my painting language further by incorporating the male form into my compositions for the first time.  However, for me the subject matter is the starting point to a painting, not the end.  So I try to give the figure, whether male or female, the same treatment as I would a vase of flowers.  I want the figure to just exist and sit right in the painting, and not to story tell and distract.  My overall objective is to produce well balanced paintings, where the beautiful properties of the colour and the texture of paint predominates the picture plane.  I see my job as a facilitator to this end and by using sympathetic subject matter and by using the compositional elements and devices that I have built up and developed over the years, I attempt to reach the paint’s maximum potential. Link


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