Notes from Christie Taylor, Curator:
How to paint the landscape:
First you make your bow to the landscape.
Then you wait, and if the landscape bows to you, then, and only then, can you paint the landscape.
American modernist painter John Marin always sought “things seen and felt” in his work, painting scenes that encountered relationships rather than mere imitations. Marin spent his time working where the land meets the sea – where these Fellows of Ballinglen have found their inspiration.
In this exhibition, entitled SEEN and FELT, you will see that these artists found their moment of reverence -- the bowing and acceptance – at a bog in North Mayo, or wind and light on a hill, or the intimacy of a landscape of face and flowers.
Most of this exhibition’s work take a direct, visceral approach, yet some distill their empathy more meditatively. But each is fully engaged to seek things seen and felt.
A walk through the museum, we encounter Sean McSweeny’s Down Patrick, small in scale yet monumental. McSweeny takes a bow to nature, then, with a brush loaded with paint, charges ahead against the swirling sea. Painters Rose DeGoot and John Lowrie follow step with gutsy strokes of force and bravery.
And then, as we trudge up the hill with Margo Bank’s North Bog, her dark, rhythmic strokes dissect the living soil – foreshadowing a turf spade.
Catherine Kehoe’s Self Portrait 2015 is stunningly intimate. Transparent ink washes capture all that is needed for us to get a glimpse of her soul, as she stares back at ours. Just as revealing, in Audrey Levinthal’s Self with Wildflowers, we find grace in her attentive, playful brushworks as she tugs along with drooping wildflowers.
And take a moment to pause in front of Caitriona Bale's Mayo vi, where the landscape has been reduced to pure forms of two shapes touching like a tender kiss. Is it a cliff marrying the sea or the rounded belly of a sheep in the mist?
For you, the viewer, it depends on what you see and feel.