The Molesworth Gallery

Sleep of reason ~ Oil on canvas, laid on board ~ 33 x 44 inches


Previous Exhibition

TRAUM - Patrick Redmond

October 11th ~ November 1st '07

Sleeping boy ~ Oil on canvas, laid on board ~ 18 1/2 x 24 1/4 inches



by Aodhan Floyd
In all of Patrick Redmond's paintings, there a sense of distance created by his almost forensic mode of photorealism. On first viewing, it is possible to believe that his was a cold eye and that these were a series of disconnected figures. Given time, however, they begin to invite a different set of attitudes.
Redmond has said that his “aesthetic project is to describe the sentimental without sentimentality”. The word “sentimental” can be used to signify anything in a person's nature that is characterised by, or animated from, feelings rather than from cold logic or utilitarian motives. To this extent, Patrick has succeeded in his project. There is a tension in each painting deriving from the precision of his technique and the humanity of his subject. And while there are still vestiges of his anxious attraction to the 'uncanny', which has featured so strongly in his previous shows at the Molesworth Gallery, Redmond has shifted focus and, in doing so, has revealed the concern of a man for those close to him.


Bed ~ Oil on canvas, laid on board ~ 16 x 20 inches


Even though the paintings fall into two distinct categories, the portraits of the sleepers (absences) and the paintings of the boy (distances), there is a theme that unifies them. The images seem to be an attempt to express a realisation of 'otherness' in all of our relationships. The father's protective instinct for his son is achingly limited by the certain knowledge of the boy's growing independence. The painstaking attention to every detail of the boy gazing out to sea, is a counter-balance to the unknown by which Redmond signifies simultaneously his longing and his loss. In the other sleeper paintings, the vulnerability of the subjects in unguarded sleep would indicate trust in the relationship between artist and sitter but, also, the inaccessibility of their dreams. In turn, sleep and dreams, can be seen as rehearsals of death.
In their sharp melancholy, these paintings recall a few lines from a poem by T. S. Eliot which he later adapted in The Wasteland Part IV, Death by Water:
“Oubliait les cries des mouettes …
Et les profits et les pertes…
Un courant de sous-mer l'emporta très loin,
Le repassant aux étapes de sa vie antérieure.
Figurez-vous donc, c'était un sort pénible;
Cepandent, ce fut jadis un bel homme, de haute taille.”

Park bench ~ Oil on canvas, laid on board ~ 20 x 30 1/4 inches


(Forget the cry of the gulls…and the profit and the loss… An undersea current carried him far, took him back through the ages of his past. Imagine it - a terrible end for a man once so handsome and tall.)
The idea of mutability can only be grasped by an acute awareness of its opposite. Each of the paintings conveys a deep sense of presences and absences. The painter is fully present in the virtuosic evidence of the image. The subject is fully present in the photorealistic rendering of the image. Yet the subjects are also absent in that undercurrent of mind that takes them away from him. Each image is at once an act of memory and a valediction. The sentiment that this body of work evokes is the feeling of compassion - Redmond's for his subjects' vulnerability and the viewers' for his painful honesty.
The juxtaposition of two paintings may well serve to illustrate an aspect of the theme so far outlined. The painting depicting a man with arm outstretched, Redmond himself, balancing on three rocks is immediately redolent of a Christ figure in his sacrificial act or perhaps, like sympathetic magic, the gesture is

Final moment ~ Oil on canvas, laid on board ~ 24 x 30 1/4 inches


an evocation of protective embrace, whereas the painting of the boy climbing a sea wall away from the painter's reach, captures both the exuberance of the boy, his innocence of the dangers of the world beyond the wall (a physical, as well as metaphorical, barrier between them) and the sense of the inevitable separation.
These ideas of course have not emerged out of nothing. Redmond's practice is revisiting a sensibility which was very apparent in earlier paintings, such as Apostles (2004). The explicit religious title for a plastic packet of twelve painkillers (six have been used) adverts to an ironicised undertow. This attitude can be seen, too, in the painting of the man sleeping on the park bench in the present exhibition. He clearly is not a destitute though he mimics one. He appears to be a tourist resting. In the hanging loop of the bag, in the central iron support of the park bench, even in the dark watch strap itself, there is a natural rhythm in composition which emphasizes the repose of the sleeper and the passage of time. The dense darkness of the background inflects the painting with a sense of the absolute unknown.
The painting of the artist's father asleep at a table with his head resting in the crook of his elbow is a moving study of fragility.

Escape ~ Oil on canvas, laid on board ~ 23 x 28 1/4 inches


There is no context to place the picture - only the man alone, tired, but regarded in the fact of his continuing sleep. Despite this evident compassion, there is again in the composition, the notion of emptiness, isolation and absence. The composition of the other sleeper paintings is also telling. The figures fill the entire frame as if Redmond, like some jealous guardian angel, was trying to possess his subjects. No matter how close he gets, no matter how trusting the sleeping subject, he will never know their dreams. They even mask their faces behind their hands.
Patrick Redmond's technical skills are evidenced in two paintings in particular. The lines on the shirt of the sleeping man are a triumph of scale, abstract composition and motor control. Similarly the abstracted amorphous shapes in the background of the painting of the boy by the river's edge exploit the photographic sense of depth of field to suggest the nature of the boy's reveries.
These paintings taken together confirm Redmond as an artist who has the courage to address the paradoxes of his own humanity. In doing so, he reveals his anxieties and his warmth. By painting with such conscious precision, he prompts me to ask with Robert Hayden:
“What did I know, what did I know
of love's austere and lonely offices?” (Those Winter Sundays)

Sanctuary ~ Oil on canvas, laid on board ~ 18 x 13 inches



Born: 1976
Nationality: Irish

Educated: Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology

Solo Exhibitions
2003 The Molesworth Gallery
2004 The Molesworth Gallery
2006 The Molesworth Gallery

Group Exhibitions
2006 RHA Annual Exhibition
2004 BP Portrait Award Exhibition, National Portrait Gallery, London & Edinburgh
2005 Portrait Ireland, Wexford

2006 RHA, K & M Evans painting prize


» Click here to read an essay on Patrick by Karim White

The Dream ~ Oil on canvas, laid on board ~ 14 3/4 x 21 inches



Girl by a lake ~ Oil on canvas, laid on board ~ 11 x 20 1/4 inches



Head of an old man ~ Oil on canvas, laid on board ~ 23 x 18 3/4 inches



Albert sleeping ~ Oil on canvas, laid on board ~ 16 x 22 inches



Girl asleep ~ Oil on canvas, laid on board ~ 16 x 21 1/4 inches



Hotel bedroom, still life ~ Oil on canvas, laid on board ~ 18 x 20 inches



Falling girl ~ Oil on canvas, laid on board ~ 32 x 43 inches



Traum ~ Oil on canvas, laid on board ~ 28 1/4 x 35 inches



Oasis ~ Oil on canvas, laid on board ~ 14 x 20 inches



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