Vis­ual Art

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - CRITICS’ CHOICE - AI­DAN DUNNE


Don’t Look Back, Baby: Os­car Fouz Lopez

Molesworth Gallery, Dublin Un­til Fe­bru­ary 28th

In his crisply stylised paint­ings, Os­car Fouz Lopez fo­cuses on mo­ments in sto­ries from clas­si­cal mythol­ogy, re­cast in con­tem­po­rary set­tings. His high-keyed pal­ette and slightly retro mode of rep­re­sen­ta­tion re­call the golden days of al­bum art on LP sleeves and magazine il­lus­tra­tion.

Spend­ing Static to Save Gas: Gabriel Kuri (Gallery 1)

The Artist’s Eye: Wa­ter – Kirsten Pieroth (Gallery 2)

Dou­glas Hyde Gallery, Trin­ity Col­lege, Dublin, Un­til March 28th Mex­i­can-born Gabriel Kuri “plays with the prin­ci­ples of min­i­mal­ism and the his­tory of con­sump­tion” in a site-spe­cific in­stal­la­tion that aims to cre­ate “a static field” in the gallery’s con­sid­er­able space and so “re­duce the build­ing’s en­ergy use” for the show’s du­ra­tion. His strat­egy is to drop the ceil­ing – though not the ac­tual ceil­ing, seen lit­tered with ap­par­ent de­tri­tus, plus a sur­round­ing smoke draw­ing. In Gallery 2, Kuri in­vited Ger­man artist Pieroth to show some of her se­ries of news­pa­per-based works.

Sur— [in­fi­nite Slip­page: pro­duc­tion of the r ~e ~a ~l as an in­ten­sive mag­ni­tude start­ing at zero-eight] —plus: Ima-Abasi Okon

Void, Patrick Street, Derry

Un­til March 28th

As part of her ex­hi­bi­tion, Ima-Abasi Okon par­tially low­ers a gallery ceil­ing and ap­plies an in­vis­i­ble con­coc­tion in­clud­ing in­sulin and ul­tra­sound gel to the tiles. A slowed-down au­dio track, in­dus­trial air con­di­tion­ing units and more form part of her ex­plo­ration of “the for­ma­tion of taste, value and ex­cess”. There’s an un­der­ly­ing in­ti­ma­tion that the rich­ness of

What is it?

Moorhen Call from the Smell of the Pond, it Seems to Fur­row the Smooth Sur­face of Si­lence, a paint­ing by Ea­mon Col­man.

Howwas it done?

It was painted with oil and other me­dia on Ja­panese pa­per.

Where can I see it?

It is in­cluded in The Width of Your­self, Col­man’s cur­rent ex­hi­bi­tion at Solomon Fine Art (Balfe Street Dublin, un­til Feb 29th, solomon­fin­

Is it a typ­i­cal work by the artist?

Not quite, per­haps. Col­man built his rep­u­ta­tion and fol­low­ing as a pain­ter of works that com­bine an ev­i­dent de­light in the lively play of colour and form with al­lu­sions to mythic or mag­i­cal nar­ra­tives. There was, in a great deal of his work, usu­ally an in­ter­play be­tween the land­scape per se and the in­ner, imag­i­na­tive land­scape. To some ex­tent Col­man set out to sub­stan­ti­ate these realms of the imag­i­na­tion through his trav­els, spend­ing time in In­dia, some of the south­ern re­gions of the United

African cul­ture is con­sis­tently ig­nored and dis­counted. Mary Cremin cu­rates.

Mul­ti­po­lar: John Noel Smith Hills­boro Fine Art, 49 Par­nell Square West, Dublin. Un­til March 7th

John Noel Smith is, as the press re­lease puts it, a “non-fig­u­ra­tive pain­ter”, but his vis­ually com­pelling work al­ways seems to apply to the world, all the same, on many lev­els.

States and, closer to home but equally spec­tac­u­lar, the Kerry coast. He men­tioned Bruce Chatwin’s Song­lines as an ex­em­plary at­tempt to gain a sense of the land­scape as writ­ten into the lives and imag­i­na­tions of peo­ple.

Col­man’s fa­ther was the pain­ter Seá­mus Ó Colmáin. Rather than fol­low­ing di­rectly in his foot­steps, the son found his own artis­tic path. Af­ter what he re­calls as a bruis­ing time with the Chris­tian Brothers, his par­ents switched him to in­fin­itely more en­cour­ag­ing en­vi­ron­ment of The Dal­ton, a Jewish school in Rath­mines, fol­lowed by a Protes­tant school, but his par­ents de­cided not to en­cour­age him to pur­sue a third-level ed­u­ca­tion.

He worked as a labourer, trav­elled in Europe, ap­pren­ticed and stud­ied land­scape gar­den­ing, took night classes at NCAD. All the time he was grav­i­tat­ing to­wards paint­ing, bring­ing to even his early work the in­stincts of a sto­ry­teller, in­clud­ing ref­er­ences to Celtic mythol­ogy. As Iain Biggs notes in his thought­ful, wide-rang­ing in­tro­duc­tion to The Width of Your­self, a sig­nif­i­cant shift

In his new body of work he is set on “co-or­di­nat­ing the car­tog­ra­phy of the cen­tre with that of the pe­riph­ery; scru­ti­n­is­ing the hori­zon for a new field of vi­sion”. Which is, when you think of it, an in­ter­est­ing way of con­sid­er­ing the state of things right now.

You Are Made of Star­dust: Ge­orge Bol­ster

Sol­stice Arts Cen­tre, Rail­way Street, oc­curred in Col­man’s work around 2016-2017, when he be­gan to tone down the colour. Not just the colour, in fact – he also re­assessed form, be­gin­ning to use a can­celling ges­ture, ap­ply­ing opaque bands of paint.

For those who warmed to the ex­u­ber­ant bright­ness of his pre­vi­ous work, the tran­si­tion may be dis­con­cert­ing, but there’s no ques­tion but that the re­cent work, more in­ward and less per­for­ma­tive, re­flects greater artis­tic ma­tu­rity. Biggs links that to the artist’s in­creas­ing aware­ness of en­vi­ron­men­tal re­al­i­ties, liv­ing as he does in a ru­ral set­ting. Cer­tainly, as the new paint­ings in­di­cate, he is closely aware of the tem­per of the cli­mate on mi­cro and macro lev­els. As the ex­ten­sive ti­tles sug­gest, he has not dis­carded the sto­ry­telling urge, but the sto­ries he tells here are more rooted in the daily en­coun­ters with the liv­ing land­scape, and less con­cerned with a mythic di­men­sion that is, with cli­mate change, com­ing in­creas­ingly un­der threat with in­ex­orable en­vi­ron­men­tal de­struc­tion.

Na­van, Co Meath Un­til March 20th Ma­jor new show by Cork-born Ge­orge Bol­ster, now based in New York, in­clud­ing pieces de­vel­oped dur­ing a res­i­dency at the Search for Ex­trater­res­trial In­tel­li­gence In­sti­tute and time spent with Nasa’s Ke­pler Mis­sion sci­en­tists. In­cluded are a panoramic, three­me­tre-high tapestry and a sus­pended mo­bile that evokes “a cos­mic ar­ray”.

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