Ab­stract magic

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Listings - AIDAN DUNNE

MAN­I­FEST Mil­len­nium Court Arts Cen­tre, William St, Por­ta­d­own, Co Ar­magh Un­til May 31 048-38394483

Belfast-born Ron­nie Hughes has been based close to Sligo town for some years now, though the work in Man­i­fest, his ex­hi­bi­tion at the Mil­len­nium Court Arts Cen­tre, stems from two res­i­den­cies else­where: at the Al­bers Foun­da­tion in Con­necti­cut and the Ver­mont Stu­dio Cen­tre. He could be de­scribed as an ab­stract artist but not in a doc­tri­naire sense, be­cause he has no ob­jec­tions to the world find­ing its way into his work on any num­ber of lev­els. And leafy New Eng­land found its way in. Trees fea­ture in sev­eral of the draw­ings made in the stu­dios there. Yet Hughes does al­ways ab­stract from na­ture, to pro­duce en­gross­ing, med­i­ta­tive com­po­si­tions that evoke such di­verse sources as ge­o­met­ri­cal and math­e­mat­i­cal di­a­grams, star maps and schematic rep­re­sen­ta­tions of sub­atomic par­ti­cles or com­plex struc­tures. Lest that sound heavy-duty, the work it­self is not. There is some­thing pos­i­tively play­ful about Hughes’s approach that trans­forms the worka­day into some­thing charged with mag­i­cal pos­si­bil­i­ties.

Red Plexus by Ron­nie Hughes

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