Hold To The Now
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SLAG Gallery NY is pleased to present three Irish artists for an exciting group exhibition. Stephen Loughman, Sinéad Ní Mhaonaigh, and Geraldine O’Neill take paint as their medium though with vastly different results, each granting sophisticated articulations that span a broad range of interests. These three highly regarded artists have sought out a unique language of their own through paint, though in three very different ways.
Stephen Loughman paints peculiarly unpeopled scenes that hint towards recent or imminent activity. A pervading sense of vastness and spaciousness infers a manipulation of time and space through the medium of paint. The paintings are often developed from film stills and are latently indicative of an underlying cinematic narrative. Loughman, through his handling of such source material, comments on the attention of film to mood that is often overlooked or only perceived subconsciously. The artist celebrates such minutiae through his emphasis of atmosphere. There is a tension - a sense of anticipation that exaggerates and prolongs the present, drawing it out into a more expansive temporal plane.
Sinéad Ní Mhaonaigh’s exuberant and lively paintings are abstract though there are obvious truths at play. Colour, pattern, form and structure appear convincing yet obfuscated by further application of paint. They are sumptuous and unapologetically painterly objects. The thickly applied paint is often incised and layers are scraped away intimating a process of application and removal. Ní Mhaonaigh’s works intuitively allow the texture and tone of paint to inform each gesture. Though they could be considered abstract they are evocative of sensory overload, of a glut of visual information combined with optical distortion. It is as though a number of images converge and recede and Ní Mhaonaigh’s paintings capture this optical and cognitive process as it occurs.
Geraldine O’Neill’s paintings absorb a plethora of genres in response to various art historical interests yet they are simultaneously personal and sensitive in their subject matter. A deep knowledge and understanding of the history of painting transcends these works incorporating such weighted themes as portrait and landscape painting, however O’ Neill eschews a burdened response and instead imbues the paintings with a sense of playfulness and frivolity. Embedded in these paintings is an acknowledgement of paint in its resilience through the passing of time, both in the history of western painting and in the artist’s personal history. Through layers of varying gestures O’Neill creates a multi-surfaced montage that declares an excitement for and fascination with the possibilities of paint.