Thursday, September 01, 2016
Paul Doran at Hillsboro Fine Art
The following review appeared in the Sunday Times Culture magazine on 28 August 2016.
Paul Doran makes paintings that are demanding of the viewer. His earlier work often consisted of coils of paint that looked as if they'd emerged unmediated from their tubes. Process art was in vogue and Doran's work seemed part of that academic movement in which the medium took precedence over the message. But he has moved on and these days he creates art that engages the viewer emotionally, inviting comparisons with Howard Hodgkin, an artist he much admires. He has eschewed titles completely leaving us free to encounter these works honestly. The dark, dense, abstract images in oil on multiple layers of overlapping board are topped off with a Baconesque flourish in bright acrylic often on a sheet of archival paper. Lurking within the overall abstraction there is a recurring bird motif and the layer of paper that tops many of the paintings contains ghostly photographic images of apples, egg-shells, dappled shadows, and even an opened artbook. These small (around 14 inches square) works have an impact that belies their size. They have the kind of visual heft that you find in old icon paintings.
Hillsboro Fine Art