The Molesworth Gallery

Niall McCormack


Sheltered house, oil on canvas, 25 x 30cm



Three windows, oil on linen, 20 x 35cm



Shelter III, oil on canvas, 30 x 25cm



Silence, oil on canvas, 25 x 30cm


Ocular Mantra
April 16th - May 8th, 2015


The Molesworth Gallery is delighted to present Ocular Mantra, an exhibition of recent work by Niall McCormack.

Niall McCormack's uniform yet meticulously-rendered structures evoke a sense of disquiet, perhaps even foreboding. They speak of isolation and the contradictions of living together but being apart - a house not as the clichéd home but rather as an instrument of separation or of incarceration. The long, hard shadows cast hint at the melancholic urban landscapes of De Chirico or Sironi, and the only warmth found in the otherwise cool palette is in the ironic pastel shades that adorn the walls of the buildings - hues that aspire to a received perception of ‘niceness’ but are all the more jarring and unsettling for the apparent disingenuousness of that intention.
Writing in 'The Dictionary of Living Irish Artists' Robert O'Byrne said of McCormack's work that the artist's "personal experience of spending much of his childhood and teen years in residential institutions for deaf children run by the Roman Catholic Church has played an important part in developing his artistic style”. O’Byrne believes that an argument can be made that denying him the sense of sound has had the effect of sharpening McCormack’s awareness of his environment, in particular the built environment. “Buildings therefore are recurring motifs of his paintings, as in an impression of institutional austerity..... Tellingly, although McCormack’s buildings have windows, none of them have doors, at least not on the exterior; his interiors, by contrast, do feature floor-length openings through which a powerful shaft of light enters the space.... And then McCormack works with a palette of sugar candy colours, pinks and pale blues; his 2008 show [at The Molesworth] was called ‘Pastel Gothic’. No doubt as the artist intends, the effect is charming but chilling.”

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