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Patrick Hall: Drawings at the Irish Museum of Modern Art
An exhibition of 90 drawings by the leading Irish artist Patrick Hall opens to the public at the Irish Museum of Modern Art on Wednesday 10 October 2007. Patrick Hall: Drawings focuses on works from the past 17 years and includes a series of recent drawings – some being shown for the first time – and a selection of new works direct from the artist’s studio. The exhibition will be opened at 6.00pm on Tuesday 9 October by the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Mr Séamus Brennan, TD.
The exhibition comprises ink, pastel and watercolour works on paper and nude life drawings in charcoal. Although varied in style and subject matter, all reflect Hall’s lifelong interest in human experience, suggesting a quest for meaning and happiness, fuelled by the twin sources of energy behind his work – mysticism and sexuality. Hall has described his works as being intensely private, “all about my own journey”. Exodus I, 2004, for example, was inspired by Hall’s identification with the themes of expulsion and journey in the Biblical account of the departure of the Israelites from Egypt. His affinity with the paintings of Caspar David Friedrich is a further expression of the sense of otherness which imbues much of his work. He sees Friedrich’s depiction of his lonely figures in isolated landscapes as representing, not a forbidding desolation, but rather a very human one.
A series of male nude charcoal drawings, being shown for the first time, echo these feelings. In an interview with IMMA’s Karen Sweeney in the exhibition catalogue, Hall describes the keen sense of aloneness he finds in the male nude: “This sense of aloneness appeals to me aesthetically. Even if I do a ‘bad’ drawing, if I get that sense of aloneness in the drawing, that’s what I’m captivated by – that’s what I aim for”. The artist sees the smaller scale of his drawings as part of their emotional charge and also as a welcome artistic discipline. He describes the process of drawing as a “way of memorizing form and exercising the intelligence and the memory of the hand. You’re just trying to capture a feeling and be as accurate as possible. It’s the actual presence of the model I try to get, that sad aspect of his being which I try to express”.
Patrick Hall is, of course, best know as a painter, and several works on paper in the exhibition, such as Children in the Forest and A Child in the Forest, both 2007, and Approaching the Yellow Mountain and Yellow Mountain, derive from his 2007 painting In the Vicinity of the Yellow Mountain, developed from a dream about a journey to a mysterious mountain. In order to provide a wider context, a group of other – quasi-Expressionistic – works on paper from 1990 to 1993 is also included, among them Moment of Truth, 1990, Red Nude, 1992, and The Sponge of Gall, 1993. A further selection of male nudes from 1997, which has been exhibited before, is also being shown.
Born in Co Tipperary in 1935, Patrick Hall studied at the Chelsea School of Art and then at the Central School of Art in London, where he was taught by the British artist Cecil Collins, whose influence has been a lasting presence in his work. In 1966 he moved to Spain, returning to live in Dublin in 1974. His work is widely regarded as fundamental to the so-called return to painting in this country in the 1970s and ‘80s. He has been an influential figure in the careers of many younger generation artists, including William McKeown, Nick Miller and Isabel Nolan. Patrick Hall has exhibited widely both in Ireland and internationally. Solo exhibitions include the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, 1995; Butler Gallery, Kilkenny, 2002; Green on Red Gallery, Dublin, 2004, and the Model Arts and Niland Gallery, Sligo, 2006. His works are included in many private and public collections including the Arts Council of Ireland, Dublin City Gallery: The Hugh Lane and the IMMA Collection. He was appointed a member of Aosdána in 1982 and currently lives and works in Sligo and Dublin.
The exhibition is co-curated by Enrique Juncosa, Director, IMMA, and Karen Sweeney, Assistant Curator: Exhibitions, IMMA.
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue with texts by Michèle C Cone, art historian and critic and writer Karim White, a foreword by Enrique Juncosa and an interview with the artist by Karen Sweeney.
Patrick Hall: Drawings continues until 6 January 2008. Admission is free.
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