Monday, July 20, 2009

Pastoral Exhibition. The Bad Art Gallery, Dublin. July, 2009

Blue still life
71 x 71 cm
Oil on canvas
Since the middle of 2008, I have been painting for my new show Pastoral.   For me a theme to an exhibition, is an overall guideline, as I like to skirt around a subject not adhering to it exactly but using it more like an anchor that I can refer back to as a source of inspiration. Sometimes the title I chose for an exhibition if at all is a word that looks visually right with the group of paintings, no more than to evoke a mood rather than a literal summing up. After all to understand and ‘read’ paintings is a unique visual sensory experience, which is such a different mental process from reading or interpreting a written text, therefore I am very wary of too much explanation when it comes to my paintings.  However a certain amount of words could be useful to throw light on how to read or get to know my work, but I feel too many words can distract and create barriers.  I know why I created a painting, I know all its symbolism and historical and personal references, but that’s essentially about the process of painting not the painting itself.  The process is whatever it takes to come up with the end product, which is then released, from my grasp and control.  Whatever the viewer cares to see or interpret in my paintings is the paintings start of a new existence separate from me, it now belongs to whoever is looking at it, it is unique for them alone and hopefully the painting has enough visual information and painterly language for it to be understandable.  That is what I have always understood to be what ‘living art’ means. A painting that stands up on it’s own by living through the person who is considering and looking at it, at the time.

So this collection of paintings called Pastoral is far from a documentation of my life in the countryside, but a starting point of a theme. I have intentionally set out to depict the idyll of country living and have selected scenes from my immediate surroundings of rural County Wicklow, and have let my imagination run away with the romance of the place. By selecting out the painterly qualities of the theme I hope to produce vibrant, harmonious and cohesive paintings that depict the good things in life like picking blackberries in autumn, I further   heighten and enhance the mood in the work, by tapping in on the natural good feel factor of sunshine, which I symbolise with my use of saturated colour. Link

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