Thursday, April 17, 2008

Rocco Tullio at the Cherrylane Gallery

It’s always a pleasure to get out to the Cherrylane Gallery in Delgany on a Sunday afternoon – particularly when the weather allows you to gather outside. And Michael and Robert are amiable hosts.

Tullio’s work reminds me somewhat of Gwen O’Dowd’s, or occasionally Tim Goulding’s. Some of the smaller encaustic landscapes are excellent. He has a reputation as a talented portrait artist and there is a straightforward charcoal piece of Skellig Michael that demonstrates his skill as a draughtsman. However, the bulk of the show is made up of moody expressionistic landscapes with splashes of reds and yellows suggesting fires and dawns. Generally the show is impressive, if not very original, but when he moves away from encaustic to oil (or acrylic?) the work is flat and uninteresting. I suppose encaustic lends a heft and ambiguity to paintings that oil by itself cannot.

Whatever about Tullio’s artistic future he will hardly starve in a garret. The show was opened by U2 manager Paul McGuinness – who happens to be Tullio’s godfather. McGuinness damaged his arm falling off a horse on the morning of the show. He had asked John Boorman (the film director) to stand in for him should he not make it. An impressive duo to launch your solo career. Both ended up saying a few words: McGuinness with his arm in a sling, Boorman looking fit and dapper with his dicky bow.

There was a huge turnout of Wicklow bohos – foxy ladies with ethnic jewelry and roguish eyes. Chris de Burgh was there with his fragrant wife and so was Neil Jordan – dressed, as usual, like a refugee from a Salvation Army hostel.