by Rose Rushe
IT was a crowded house for Limerick City Gallery of Art on Thursday May 21 for Ramon Kassam’s ‘Gallery’ on the ground floor and Gavin Hogg’s ‘Shadow Light’ occupying upper chambers and atrium. Siobhan O’Reilly, who has care of collections here, chose Drawings 11 as the third chapter, this absorbing and varied show displaying the Permanent Collection’s room.
Dr Una McCarthy, a Charleville woman appointed curator and director of this Pery Square Gallery, was host for the evening, welcoming our European Capital of Culture 2020 leader in thebidding stakes, Dr Mike Fitzpatrick as guest of honour. Also artists Sheila Richardson and Martin Shannon, Dr Hugh Maguire and Naomi O’Nolan of The Hunt Museum, CUISLE’s Paul Sweeney with wife Charlotte Breen and children, artist Kieran Carey, peace commissioner John Leonard, Labour’s Tom Shortt, artist Maurice Quillinan and many more.
This suite of art works will stay put daily until July 28; free to all.
Artist’s note on ‘Shadow Light’:
The work in this exhibition by Gavin Hogg, entitled ‘Shadow Light’ spans the years 2004 to 2014.
In this period of time the artist’s has focused on the richness of painting language and its ability to articulate imaginative and emotional energies which couldn’t be expressed any other way. For Hogg, the beauty of painting is the physical and imaginative possibilities open to it and the work in this exhibition is deeply concerned with exploring this potential.
The earlier work is influenced by more traditional aspects of painting. The technical use of oil paint and its ability to represent effects of natural light. Impressionist techniques play a part here and there are passages of paint which are pure retinal delight.
There are decorative concerns throughout all the work and they serve various functions. The play on wallpaper is present both as an evocation of the domestic and then as a surface which can be torn back to reveal energies hidden beneath.
The use of symbolism is central to the work. Symbols which are personal to the artist and others which are more archetypal in nature and which reach back centuries and are part of everyone’s psychic inheritance.
Artist’s note on ‘Gallery’:
Paintings form the basis of his practice and incorporate various motifs in their often ruthless and labored construction. The works in this exhibition re-connect with the concept of the artist as creative subject, combining the thematic of the artist’s workspace (canvas, studio, gallery and urban environment) with formal and conceptual references to the autonomous reality of modernist abstraction.
The paintings are the result of an intuitive reshuffling and re-contextualisation of studio materials, art histories, biographical elements and formal structures. They relate to one another through an invented narrative centred around an artist’s supposed activities, environment and viewpoints. The paintings are intended to act as both the documentation and result of this hypothetical narrative.
These compositions of invented spaces, viewpoints, paintings and actions, owe much of their painterly gesture to Kassam’s cut and paste approach to absorb and refract the abstract surface quality of the urban environment, particularly that of his hometown of Limerick City. He likens urban surroundings and experiences to physically living within a painting, citing the haphazard combinations of artificial colour, texture, form and narrative on any given streetscape as part of his concept.