Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Ocean - Mary Lohan

A slightly edited version of this appeared in the Sunday Times Culture Magazine on the 18 May 2014.

The title of Mary Lohan's new exhibition seems very apt. The limitless expanses of sea and sky that she portrays inspire that oceanic feeling. Lohan has stripped the romance of specific place out of this show and it shows in her titles. There's no Misty Morning Glencolmcille and the like - the paintings are named strictly by number and form as in Circle I, Square IV and Rectangle V. These seascapes are composites of all the seas she's ever known. While clearly not abstract images, they are are more formal and tightly structured than much of her previous work. The feeling of a new severity is enhanced by a slight thinning of her usually florid impasto and by the number of pieces where the dark blue of the sea approaches an almost funereal black. In a few paintings her horizon line tilts surrealistically off the horizontal, suggesting we're at sea, and her tondos echo this impression by providing a porthole perspective. A couple of works, featuring bands of land, sea and sky, look like refugees from an earlier show but should be equally cherished.

Taylor Galleries, Dublin.

John P. O'Sullivan.