Horizons II, Rhyme or Reason | Michael Hales at Tipperary Excel Centre


Date(s) - 10/04/2019 - 25/05/2019

Tipperary Excel centre






“On the horizon”

“Beyond the horizon”

“Broaden (one’s) horizons”

“Cloud on the horizon”

Regardless of one’s position in the world there is a shared horizon that connects all humanity. Sometimes through time or circumstance, the horizon can become obscured. A loss of perspective or lack of focus hinders our progress into the unknown future. Similarly the horizon might only be understood from a singular position. This can narrow and distort our understanding of our place in the world.

Currently society is in a state of political, financial, environmental and cultural transition. The uncertainty of this epoch-ending time is masking our vision of the future and our capacity to plan through understanding. Our solace can normally be found in the natural world but this is also in a state of major upheaval and its survival is under threat from the existence of humanity. This exhibition is an exploration of the horizon using abstract landscapes based on the pastoral vistas from the Artists area and walks in Ireland.


These 56 pieces make up the parts of two opposing works, Rhyme and Reason.

[Rhyme] The first 28 very unique and individual works which combined, produce a greater, more influential visual statement that displays different outlooks with a continued horizon across the whole piece. The combined paintings are intended to work as a metaphor for the current Brexit situation and the associated political chaos. The horizon represents the constant with each painting representing a country. The politically supported singular view of a horizon has led to a limited vision of the future possibly based on a nostalgic view of a past which few have a clear memory of. Each painting is titled Horizon but written in the languages of each EU country.

[Reason] The second 28 made to the same dimensions and set out to a regime are in direct opposition to the first work. Each painting takes its title from a line of the poem “The Second Coming” by W.B Yeats. Written in 1919 the poem which depicts a sinister prospect for Humanity. There is a sense that we approach another period of change.  Although there is a defined mechanism in place for the initiation of each painting, the end result is of course different. Still a metaphor, but in this instance an EU with clear outlines and predetermined scope which accepts and embodies difference.


In my work I try to explore abstract landscapes by concentrating on the horizon line which is common to all landscapes and vistas and defines our understanding of place. When we move, our horizon changes and therefore, when added to our previous knowledge we can gain a greater understanding. Hence an essential part of the concept of any situation is the concept of “horizon.” The horizon is the range of vision that includes everything that can be seen from a particular vantage point… A person who has no horizon is one who does not see far enough and hence over values what is nearest to them. On the other hand, “to have an horizon” means not being limited to what is nearby, but to being able to see beyond it.

Michael Hales has developed his practice through working in encaustics, combining the fluidity of the beeswax & damar resin with the vibrancy of oil painting. Through this bold use of colour applied in layers using heat and carving previous strata, an abstract landscape is summoned into being on the heavily worked birch ply surface.

Michael is influenced by the current zeitgeist, where a growing cultural response, to an incredibly fast changing world, has developed an increasing nostalgic view of the past. The images aim to evoke wistful memories or glimpses of inviting landscapes that appear both heavily abstracted and familiar at once.

He is currently working from his own studio in Emly.


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