Monday, July 06, 2015

Don Cronin - Oblique Revisions

A slightly edited version of this piece appeared in the Sunday Times Culture magazine on 28 June 2015.

Don Cronin's public sculpture is probably familiar to anyone who travels regularly around the southern half of the country. There's his personable bull on the way into Macroom, Billy the Blacksmith outside Innishannon, and Gyrators, an abstract piece near Midleton - to name but a few. However, to catch this artist at his best you need to view his gallery work - free from the compromises often involved in public commissions. It's surprising that he's had to wait so long for his first solo show in Dublin and the Artistic Alliance is to be commended for bringing him to Bonham's. His immaculately finished abstract pieces hint at Constructivism and its disciples such as David Smith and the influential Tipperary-born sculptor John Burke. But Cronin occasionally adds a twist to the smooth amalgam of geometries that is Constructivism by inserting a slightly contrary organic note in the midst of the machined perfection. His materials include bronze, stainless steel, and aluminium. There's also a problematical experiment in polyester resin. But overall the show demonstrates an accomplished artist at the height of his creative powers. Two pieces stand out, After Bonneville in stainless steel and Stack (above) in aluminium. This work has the drama and radiance of fully realised art.

John P. O'Sullivan