The Molesworth Gallery
 

Interior Dialogue

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Jennifer Trouton ~ What remains 45 ~Oil on wallpaper, laid on board ~ 29 x 20 cm

 

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Jennifer Trouton ~What remains 45 ~ Oil on wallpaper, laid on board ~ 29 x 20 cm

 

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Jennifer Trouton ~ Chamber ~ Oil on wallpaper, laid on board ~ 80 x 60 cm

 

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Blaise Smith ~ The lamp ~ Oil on canvas ~ 41 x 51 cm

 

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Blaise Smith ~ The Gray sidetable ~ Oil on canvas ~ 41 x 51 cm

 

A group exhibition by gallery and invited artists re-imagining the interior in contemporary art

 

November 15th - December 10th, 2013

 

___The painted interior has its genesis in the resolution of the conflict faced by artists in the fifteenth century, when they had first discovered how to mirror nature. The very triumphs of naturalism and perspective led to their figures looking rigid, almost mannequin-like. It took the genius of Leonardo to overcome this problem, by allowing his figures to merge into dark shadows, using the technique known as sfumato. Leonardo had realised that the shadows he required do not occur in sunlight - in the exterior. It was by moving his figures indoors that he resolved the conflict.

___It was further north, however, in the Netherlands, where the genre reached its apotheosis. In spite of the strictures of the Reformation - or perhaps because of them - the painting of interiors flourished in the Netherlands from the sixteenth century on. When artists could no longer paint altar-panels and other devotional works, the Dutch turned to the mundane and to creating work, the main object of which was to demonstrate their technical skill.

___It is in this sense that the interiors painted by the Dutch masters marked a step change in art history. Before them, the value of a work of art depended as much on its subject matter as its execution. Without any grandiose narrative, the Dutch genre artists seemingly painted nothing of any importance. There was no grandiose narrative; the paintings were an end in themselves.

___Interiors became a field of experiment where artists could stage a painting. The lighting, the arrangement of objects, all of its elements were controlled, with harmonies sought between colours and textures. The artists' nascent realisation that the subject may be far less important than previously thought presages so much of the development of painting in the modern era. As the art historian Ernst Gombrich puts it, “just as there is great music without words, so there is great painting without an important subject matter”.

___An interior reflected in art is never as cold as a mirror, though, the work will always reflect the artist’s mind, the predilections and moods that make each of us unique. In the past, the work always made value judgments about its subjects: the noble peasant, the dissolute drunk, the virtues of love and domestic chores (however much like drudgery it may look to modern eyes). These paintings place us in the spaces occupied by their subjects; they feel intrusive, almost voyeuristic.

___In her work for this exhibition, Catherine Barron picks up on this facet of interior painting, by situating her viewer on the outside looking in, almost stalking its subjects. The exposed, corroded surfaces of the metal panels she works on seem to hint at the ephemerality of the lives lived within.

___For his part, Blaise Smith’s paintings are an ode to domesticity, and to Leonardo himself - the compositions and the modelling unified by the lighting effects pioneered by the great master.

___Jennifer Trouton’s work for the show treats the interior as an historical record, the past preserved in details, invoking a heightened pathos that never strays into nostalgia. For his contribution, Pat Redmond presents a take on the collector’s lot: a macabre haberdashery of hunting trophies; the stuffed animal heads, like the armchair, all pointing at the jarring monochrome of the idle television.

___Vanya Lambrecht-Ward's works are a conflation of possibilities: they represent both plans and ruins, dereliction and design. Viewers are left to impose their own interpretation of where the image sits in the lifecycle of the building.

___Niall McCormack’s interiors once again take the palette of pastel pinks, blues, greens of the Catholic institutions of his youth, and juxtapose the pictorial harmony of the paintings with the toil, misery and abuse that often characterised the interiors themselves.

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Vanya Lambrecht-Ward ~ The drawing room ~ Mixed media ~ 21 cm wide

 

 

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Vanya Lambrecht-Ward ~ The double doors ~ Mixed media on wood ~ 21.5 x 25.5cm

 

 

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Catherine Barron ~ Colin in his pantry ~ Acrylic ink on sheet metal ~ 26 x 20 cm

 

 

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Catherine Barron ~ The child and the night ~ Acrylic ink on sheet metal ~ 15 x 41 cm

 

 

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Catherine Barron ~ Soup and bread ~ Acrylic ink on sheet metal ~ 21 x 24 cm

 

 

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Catherine Barron ~ Nobody lives here anymore ~ Acrylic ink on sheet metal ~ 14 x 28 cm

 

 

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Patrick Redmond ~ Interval ~ Oil on board ~ 66 x 97 cm

 

 

Helnwein

Mercedes Helnwein ~ Film still 3 ~ digital print on plexiglas ~ 61 x 112 cm

 

 

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Niall McCormack ~ Exhumation ~ Oil on canvas ~ 46 x 61 cm

 

 

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Niall McCormack ~ Kitchen door ~ Oil on canvas ~ 46 x 61 cm

 

 

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Conor Foy ~ Rugs ~ Oil on board ~ 60 x 95 cm

 

 

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