Midsummer’s gravity makes our heads spin
Works include drawing, painting, sculpture and film by six artists including Brian Fay, David Smith, Ellen Duffy, Eve O’Callaghan, Fiona Finlay and Jamie Cross. The intentions of the exhibition are to be playful and visually engaging, and to offer the viewer moments, challenges and pleasure in the language of the visual, and in the energy of the artists and their work.
The exhibition also expresses an interest in the phenomena of the building itself an imposing and beautifully crafted Courthouse built in 1828. It’s an exhibition interested in the magnetism of painting and drawing. In art as an act of human control in times of uncertainty. It is also focused on art as an expression of the sensual, in its touch and play, and in art pointing to the notions of time from both the artists and viewer perspectives. There are many interconnections between the artists in “Second Summer”; in their lives and in their artistic concerns, approaches and interests.
There are overlaps and crossovers which knit the exhibition together in unexpected ways. For example in Gallery Two, the largest of The Dock’s galleries Brian Fay, a senior lecturer in art at TUD, is showing new and existing works with recent graduate Ellen Duffy. This is a Gallery of magnificent proportions, and we play with scale here as we are also showing the small intimate and delicately soft colored gesso paintings by Eve O’Callaghan, who mixes pigments of light lavender, butter buff and egg shell greens overlaid with graphite mark making; images of leaves and flowers. To host these three diverse but related practices, the gallery space is fractured by two gigantic angular walls. These create a vestibule of colour and pattern; a device designed to bring the viewer into close view with the detailed and considered works of Brian Fay and Eve O’Callaghan.
From this intense passage you enter into Gallery One and are met by a series of sculptural works made from everyday and found materials and large format prints by Ellen Duffy. The structure bring you close to the clear true light of the Shannon and into the sight line of Eve O’Callaghan’s works, and from here you pass into Gallery Three which we have dedicated to the paintings of Fiona Finlay. This gallery is small and beautifully proportioned, and it is filled with the graceful charm of her flower studies. Her cut flowers speak of the beauty of the everyday. Our desire for consolation of beauty and reflect our own small timeless exertions in domestic cultivation and tastes. Her use of colour oscillates from muted to weirdly vibrant, which pushes the imagery far beyond anything that might be read as sweetly romantic.
Artists Jamie Cross recently graduated from IADT. Jamie Cross’s installations are in the imposing lobby area of The Dock. These works act almost as a spacial biography of homes over the last year. During early lockdown he was living in a small expressive apartment in Dublin. Works like the image of the whale carcass are made from images taken on walks last summer on the beaches in Mullaghmore. He has reproduced as a large format print, which draws attention to structure and nature of the building. The whale bones forming the armature as the flesh decomposes drawing parallels between the building and the body. Jamie introduces random household items in the lobby, which when juxtaposed with the imposing lobby is a nod to humour and the domesticity from which we are emerging and the humdrum of our everyday lives. On the elegant Wyatt Windows either side of the front door, he has installed a double layer of filament drawing attention to the design idiosyncrasies of the building.
David Smith is a painter, filmmaker and musician. He is currently resident artist at The Dock. His work is installed in Gallery 1. Here he has chosen a seminal painting from his recent body of work to hang in the dominant archway, it’s from this anchor point in the room he has built the form of his exhibition. David’s work is heavily influenced by an extended period of time he spent living in China and the principles of Chinese painting the first of which is “Spirit Resonance” (qiyun气韵) or vitality (shengdong生动) which references the intentions, presence and energy of the artist and how this is the primary element of painting. He is interested in communicating ideas of balance and that the elements within the work are living and dying at the same time. Within the pictorial frame the elements seem unfixed, communicating this idea of spirit; for example the flame is balanced with the dark, the forest light could be night or dawn. David works initially with colour washes and removes them bringing the paint into a monochrome plane, which hints at earlier barely visible layers. The perspectives within works are clearly different from Western traditions.
The exhibition is curated by Sarah Searson