The Molesworth Gallery
 

VOLTUS

bridge

Cian Mcloughlin ~ Portrait of my father I ~ Oil on canvas ~ 52 x 40 cm

 

bridge

Cian McLoughlin ~ Portrait of my father II ~ Oil on canvas ~ 52 x 40cm

 

bridge

Cian McLoughlin ~ Self-portrait ~ Oil on canvas ~ 61 x 51 cm

 

bridge

Cian McLoughlin ~ Tronie ~ Oil on canvas ~ 40 x 30 cm

 

Contemporary Portraiture

 

October 24th - November 9th, 2013

 

___In many ways, the demands made of the portraitist are greater than those made of artists working in other genres. Above all, the portraitist is tasked with capturing a likeness. The human brain is hardwired to distinguish one face from another, no two of which are identical - as evidenced by the development of facial recognition technology, which relies on the individual’s face being as unique as a set of fingerprints. As infants, the ability to distinguish the subtle differences between one face and another is key to forming a parental attachment and even a separate identity. So the portraitist must either satisfy or circumvent the sophisticated capacity of the human brain to tell one face from another.
___But the portraitist is also expected to gaze into the souls of the subject to create an image that transcends a mere physical representation. The artist’s imagination must become a prism through which is revealed a larger reality. Hence the exhibition’s title, Voltus, the latin word for face or visage, that also encompasses a broader sense of an individual’s expression, demeanor or bearing.
___On top of the technical and creative demands made, the portrait painter has also had to contend with photography and video on one side and with the development of abstract art on the other. The very notion that the coherent self can be rendered by the drawn line or the stroke of a brush has been undermined. Yet as the contemporary portraiture amply demonstrates, the human face and form are still being mined by artists for new and interesting modes of creative expression. The genre runs the gamut from the cool intellectualism of Alex Katz, through the gestural work of Elizabeth Peyton and the dysmorphic figures of Lisa Yuskavage, to the self-portraits of Cindy Sherman, who uses herself as a cypher for more universal states of existence.
___The work in this exhibition is no less varied. Patrick Redmond, Eoghan McGrath and Blaise Smith combine the sharp contours and dramatic lighting of Northern Renaissance painters with the blunt honesty of contemporary photography, while Sheila Pomeroy employs the chiarascuro of the Italian masters to create a sense of foreboding, of forces beyond the edges of the painting that are gathering against its subject.
___For his part, Cian McLoughlin uses paint to capture a likeness but also marshals its tactile, malleable properties to convey the turmoil, the joys - the cumulative impact of a life lived.
___Mercedes Helnwein’s subjects act out a role - be it subjugation, guilt, vulnerability - that seems at odds with their youthful vitality. She is the auteur portraitist, trapping her subjects in stills from films that will never be scripted.
___The installation created by Thomas Brezing for the exhibition sees his portraits mounted on the discarded stabilizers from children’s bikes, as though they are in a race to a non-existent finish line. It’s as if the paintings themselves are competing for the viewer’s attention, as though the emotional needs of the subjects have been transposed to the work.
___This installation examines the human urge to compete, in the workplace, at sports, even in the artworld, where the worth of the artist is often measured by prizes won. It casts an ironic eye on this exercise and questions its validity as a means of determining the merit of a work of art.

bridge

Mercedes Helnwein ~ Angie ~ Black pencil on paper ~ 30 x 37 cm

 

 

bridge

Mercedes Helnwein ~ Shelby II ~ Black pencil on paper ~ 61 x 46 cm

 

 

bridge

Mercedes Helnwein ~ Walker County II ~ Black pencil and oil pastel ~ 36 x 24 cm

 

 

bridge

Thomas Brezing ~ Installation shot

 

 

bridge

Thomas Brezing ~ The world is not a cold, dark place ~ Oil on canvas ~ 50 x 50 cm

 

 

bridge

Thomas Brezing ~ Race 1 ~ Oil on canvas~ 40 x 30 cm

 

 

bridge

Eoghan McGrath ~ Betty ~ Oil on board ~ 62 x 46 cm

 

 

bridge

Jacopo Dimastrogiovanni ~ Untitled ~ Oil on canvas ~ 80 x 60 cm

 

 

bridge

Jacopo Dimastrogiovanni ~ Non so ~ Oil on canvas ~ 50 x 40 cm

 

 

bridge

Blaise Smith ~ Self-portrait ~ Oil on canvas ~ 50 x 50 cm

 

 

bridge

Blaise Smith ~ Head ~ Oil on canvas ~ 50 x 40 cm

 

 

bridge

Patrick Redmond ~ Untitled ~ Oil on board ~ 30 x 24 cm

 

 

bridge

Sheila Pomeroy ~ Shadow kiss ~ Oil on board ~ 43 x 54 cm

 

 

bridge

Sheila Pomeroy ~ Fuschia Talon ~ Oil on Board~ 56 x 43 cm

 

 

bridge

Sheila Pomeroy ~ Totem ~ Oil on board ~ 26 x 26 cm

 

 

« Return to Exhibitions Home      Back to Top