With just over four weeks into ‘Bardo,’ numerous conversations were ignited about the work during all of the recent exhibition events. Visitors asked how it was connected to meditation? why reference Eastern religious art? and how is Patrick Scott connected to my work? All questions that opened the floor to more understanding; both for me as the artist, and the viewer who experiences it.
When attempting to articulate the paintings in ‘Bardo,’ I can only describe them as abstractions of the unconscious by using repeated motifs, shapes and form. Even when faced with our mortal existence, we often go around repeating the same thoughts and actions in life and end up being trapped by them. Trapped by desire which can only bring suffering. This, then, adding a lot of tension to the paintings, which are quite moody; doesn’t just depict a personal experience, be can also be a universal account when considering the history of the human condition, and civilizations that have gone before. The practice of mediation was a tool that brought these visual and psychological patterns to the forefront, and allowed me as the artist to use my awareness of them to make the work for ‘Bardo’.
Patrick Scott’s archive was a (lucky) coincidental starting point, back in 2015, but it has grown into something a lot more that can’t necessarily be identified straight away in the paintings. I initially began to admire his work for purely aesthetic reasons and I could never really say that I was a scholar of his or had any great knowledge about his life, but then there was something very humbling and real about delving into his personal archive while working on it in NIVAL. One starts to see the behind the scenes of an artist’s life, the very beginnings of his earlier more illustrative and design work, (realising that we all started somewhere and it takes a life time to make good work; work that is iconic and timeless and that essentially gives the artist a piece of immortality), to the mundane domestic life, his personal life, letters from friends, family and lovers, photographs and touching messages on postcards. I was given a glimpse into his personal space, a space that becomes very real and gives a different perspective to the artist that we all know. Finally as you begin to conserve and archive, you wrap up the items and file them away, it all feels quite finite, and it really started to resonate with my own life and work in relation to patterns and changes in one’s life. Love, birth, death, reincarnation (or rebirth) into new chapters; which is essentially what we are doing in this archive- opening up the life of the artist again.
After receiving my training in Printmaking and having a interest in graphic art that goes back to my childhood years; I have an unconscious inclination towards Japanese print and woodblock, and the compositions and colour schemes that they inhabit. In referencing Tibetan Buddhism, Zen Buddhism and various other aspects of Asian art; I chose their aesthetic to depict my own ideas on their philosophies. These philosophies, while all different; have common threads amongst them that deal with universal issues relating to desire and suffering, death and reincarnation and how we are controlled by our thoughts which lead to our actions.
I hate to dissect work, as essential as research and context is; I find that too much literal explanation can sterilise the experience, not just with art but with almost everything. Explaining is losing, as the saying goes but there can always be exceptions to the rule when lending itself to human connection.
The photographs below are of the opening on Sunday Feb 5th, as well as the two events that were held in correlation to Bardo; ‘Exploring the Patrick Scott Archive with Clare Lymer, NIVAL’ (Sat 11th February) and ‘Introduction to Zen Meditation with Mary Laheen, Zen Ireland’ (Sat 25th February). All three events were extremely well attended, much to my delight. A heartfelt appreciation to all those you came along; as supporters, art lovers and general enthusiasts.
‘Bardo’ at the Olivier Cornet Gallery has been extended for an extra week and will continue to show until Sunday March 12th 2017.
For more details on the gallery’s location and visiting hours please visit http://www.oliviercornetgallery.com
The opening of ‘Bardo’ Sunday 5th February 2017 at the Olivier Cornet Gallery. Image courtesy of Andrew Clarke.
Pauline Cummins, Visual Artist, opening ‘Bardo.’ Image courtesy of Andrew Clarke.
With Olivier Cornet. Image courtesy of Andrew Clarke.
‘Exploring the Patrick Scott Archive’ with Clare Lymer, NIVAL (The National Irish Visual Arts Library) on Sat 11th February 2017.
Setting up for the Introduction to Zen workshop with Mary Laheen, Sat 25th February 2017.
(L-R) Mary Laheen, Zen Ireland; Aisling Conroy, Artist; Olivier Cornet, Gallerist and Curator. Image courtesy of Andrew Clarke.