Monday, November 18, 2013

Half Light at Hillsboro Fine Art

Lamb Series

An edited version of this piece appeared in the Sunday Times Culture magazine on 17 November 2013.

Paddy Graham is one of the great old warriors of Irish art. His canvases are battlegrounds marked by the blood, sweat and tears he expends in the act of creation.  Religious iconography, nudes, pages from sketchbooks, cryptic phrases, and traces of earlier endeavours jostle for position. The man from Mullingar is still struggling with the sacred and the profane but this exhibition also shows a more meditative side. The Half Light series consists of three large diptychs inspired by the sea off the coast of Mayo.  These are not conventional seascapes but rather recreations of the feelings engendered by Graham's coastal encounters. They invite contemplation in much the same way as Mark Rothko's (a painter much admired by Graham) work does.  Two of the works are predominantly grey and formidably austere.  The third is an ethereal lime green with a jagged grey gash in the middle. The accompanying Lamb series comprise six smaller pieces where grey again predominates but this time the austerity is compromised by sacred hearts and gaping crotches. The Lamb of God contending with the sins of the world.