Spanning the entire career of the highly-regarded Irish artist Cecil King this exhibition comprises some 50 works and concentrates on the ‘hard edge’ paintings for which the artist is especially well known. King was a successful business man who developed a significant collection of contemporary art. In his mid-thirties he began to paint, holding his first solo exhibition in 1959. Initially he worked in a semi-realist style, as seen in a number of lyrical paintings and pastels known as the Circus series which were influenced by artists such as Nicolas de Staël and Roger Hilton. King was a founding member of the Rosc exhibitions, and through this involvement met important figures such as Barnett Newman whose work influenced his artistic development. In the early 1970s he began the paintings known as the Berlin series - large scale colour field works in which a narrow peripheral band creates a tension between figure and ground. In these meticulously executed canvasses King made economical use of simple elements. The play between the flat ‘real’ surface and the illusionist third dimension was a continuing preoccupation in his work.
Cecil King was born in Rathdrum, Co Wicklow, in 1921 and died in 1986. King was the subject of a major retrospective at the Hugh Lane Gallery, now Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, in 1981. He exhibited widely across Europe and his work is held in the collections of many leading museums including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Tate, London, and numerous private and public collections.
The exhibition is accompanied by a significant monograph published by IMMA which includes texts by Seán Kissane, Curator: Exhibitions, IMMA; Medb Ruane, writer and critic; Richard de Marco, former director of the Richard Demarco Gallery, Edinburgh, and a chronology by Oliver Dowling, former gallery owner and partner of Cecil King. A selection of poems by major Irish writers whom King collaborated, such as Seamus Heaney and Michael O’Siadhail, are also included. To buy the catalogue click here