Wexford Arts Centre are pleased to present Ochre, an exhibition of new paintings by artists Ciara Roche and Emma Roche. The exhibition will run in the lower and upper galleries from Monday 14 June to Saturday 7 August 2021.
In reconfiguring their shared surname as the title of their exhibition Ochre, Ciara Roche and Emma Roche signal a shared attachment to the matter of colour. But their work also engages with systems of classification and valuation that operate well beyond the domain of art. Many of Ciara Roche’s paintings, for example, highlight the commercial and symbolic force exerted by proper names in retail. Names transformed into brands, either fairly recently (‘Charlotte Tilbury’) or many generations ago (‘Chanel’) figure prominently in many of her paintings of department store interiors. These brand names function as signposts, directing movements of the eye and body within environments that are deliberately disorienting. Some of Ciara Roche’s paintings are even titled with minutely altered versions of designer’s proper names, such as TOMFORD and YVESSAINTLAURENT. In these particular works, language functions as something to be manipulated like paint, rendering the familiar strange, heightening the oddness already integral to these painted worlds.
Emma Roche’s work is equally attuned to the power of the written word, and the potential of language as a material. Her paintings are often titled to evoke either the informality and intimacy of speech (Splain it to me slowly?, But you would have known?) or the studied neutrality of bureaucratic communications (Applicant 1, Applicant 2, Meeting, Unqualified). These titles contextualise depictions of actions and situations that are often visually ambiguous yet charged with emotion. Many of Emma Roche’s compositions incorporate purposefully simple forms, sometimes evoking children’s drawings, but also suggesting a high degree of control over her materials. She arranges thin strands and chunky curls of paint, meticulously assembling woven sections that sometimes bear deliberate finger smears.
Extract from Pigments & Proper Names