Gillian Lawler, Urban Mountain III, oil on canvas, 153 x 122cm
Gillian Lawler, Centralia, oil on canvas, 40 x 40cm
Gillian Lawler, Anchored, oil and graphite on canvas, 70 x 60cm
Helen Blake, Roly Poly, oil on linen, 32 x 26cm
Helen Blake, Wagon, oil on linen, 26 x 32cm
Helen Blake, Folded neatly, oil on linen, 20.5 x 25.5cm
Tom Phelan, Lipsticks no. 3, oil on birch, 20 x 16cm
Tom Phelan, Mullaghmore, oil on birch, 40 x 60cm
Bridget O'Rourke, Clouds, oil on birch, 26 x 51cm
Bridget O'Rourke, Red-brown on blue 2, oil on canvas, 30 x 30cm
Helen Blake, Gillian Lawler,
Bridget O'Rourke & Tom Phelan
September 11th - October 2nd, 2015
____The Molesworth Gallery is delighted to present Wavelength, an exhibition of the work of four contemporary abstract painters, each of whom can be placed along a continuum charting a gradual detachment from the observable physical world. Along the way, there are nods to the Twentieth Century schools of abstract expressionism, minimalism, colour-field painting and op-art, but also the more conceptually rigourous approaches evident in contemporary art.
____Helen Blake is a painter whose practice focuses on colour, engaging with rhythm and formalism, chance and deliberation. Using a working method where process and contemplation guide the evolution of the work, her small, overtly hand-made paintings record and examine colour conversations within accumulating pattern structures, embracing accidents, flaws and discrepancies within their rhythms.
____Gillian Lawler’s work references the built environment in all its hubris, fragility and occasional beauty. Although the topographical details in the work could depict actual human interventions in the landscape, they are always sufficiently divorced from reality to conjure a surreal, even dystopian vision. The writer and curator Catherine Marshall has said of Lawlor’s work that her “incredibly subtle treatment of colour, texture and scale, make [it] a celebration of everything that is good in painting”.
____Bridget O’Rourke’s paintings form part of an ongoing investigation into the question of reciprocity, of producing meaning through tension, opposition and balance. Although abstract, her paintings refer to perceptual reality. They invoke various scales simultaneously: those of landscape and atmospheric depth, and those of close-up, haptic surface texture. They are rooted in direct experience and visual memory. Fiachra Gibbons, former Arts Correspondent with The Guardian, has written of O’Rourke’s work that it “is an inspired pursuit of memory and memories, a working and re-working of what happened and what was felt till she arrives at something essential.”
____Tom Phelan’s work also tackles the formal problems of abstraction - balancing colour, shape and composition into an unified whole. Underpinning each piece in this show, however, is a visual reference to the sea or to surfing: the prow of a surfboard, a heaving sea-swell, a breaking wave. He works on Casani birch panels, using the grain of the wood to add texture and depth to the work and also to suggest the early wooden surfboards long since replaced by fibreglass.