Partial View – Eamon O’Kane – Solo Exhibition
This first solo exhibition in the gallery by Irish artist Eamon O’Kane takes its title from an essay written about the artist´s artwork by curator Dan Cameron. In the text Cameron writes:
One highly successful manifestation of this project is the ‘Ideal Homes’ series, in which iconic houses and housing styles from Bauhaus through Brutalism are transposed into idyllic settings, surrounded by lush sylvan landscapes that are only partially visible, but nonetheless designed to instill a kind of envy in the viewer for their impossible mix of utopian fantasy and bucolic sublime. That such combinations of built and natural spaces are largely impossible to realize in actual life seems to be O’Kane’s point: somewhere along the way, once modernism had shelved the Romantic attachment to nature as the ultimate point of reference, the very possibility of living in harmony with the natural order seemed irrelevant, except as a kind of anti-modern regression.
O’Kane will present both new and older works in the exhibition. In a new large scale painting Matisse Courtyard (after Quincy Jones), he depicts a view of a Matisse’s large ceramic, La Gerbe. O´Kane´s painting mirrors and explodes the image from the Matisse work so that it invades the pictorial space depicting the ceramic in the original context it was commissioned for – a courtyard designed by the architect Quincy Jones. In another work Alvar Aalto remix (painted whilst listening to Substance by Joy Division), at first glance it looks like we are seeing one building through a forest of trees but on closer inspection it becomes clear the artist is depicting numerous buildings by the Finnish architect Alvar Aalto collaged together into one building. In the foreground the artist has placed Jatropha podagrica which is a poisionious decorative plant. In another painting O’Kane paints E-1027, the seminal house designed by Irish architect and designer Eileen Gray, and superimposes colours and forms taken from Le Corbusier´s architcture and painting to highlight the fact that he defaced the building with mural paintings which went against the ethos Gray was esposing in her architecture.
In the back space of the gallery O’Kane will present works from his Double Portrait series. Former Senior Curator at the Irish Museum Of Modern Art Catherine Marshall says of these works. ‘By taking well-known portraits by artists from the past such as the Van Eyck, Bellini and Vermeer and combining parts of them with equally iconic passages from portraits by Francis Bacon, Cindy Sherman and Andy Warhol, Eamon O’Kane creates a new kind of art history. What they add up to is a self-portrait of the artist, not someone who sprang from Mount Olympus, armed only with his genius, but as one who is prepared to acknowledge the impact of history and his connections to the world beyond the studio.’
Eamon O’Kane’s (b. 1974 in Belfast, N. Ireland) multi-disciplinary practice has consistently been drawn to architectural contexts, whether in his Froebel installation works that explore environments of play, or else in works such as Glass House that presented a scaled model of Philip Johnson’s iconic Glass House. O’Kane has exhibited widely in exhibitions curated by Dan Cameron, Lynne Cooke, Klaus Ottman, Salah M.Hassan, Jeremy Millar, Angelike Nollert, Yilmaz Dziewior, and others. He has been recipient of The Taylor Art Award, The Tony O’Malley Award, a Fulbright Award, an EV+A open award (Dan Cameron), IMMA residency in Dublin, BSR Scholarship in Rome, CCI residency in Paris, and a Pollock Krasner foundation grant. His artwork is in numerous public and private collections worldwide including Deutsche Bank; Burda Museum, Baden Baden, Germany; Microsoft; Bank of Ireland Collection; Country Bank, New York; Danske Bank, Denmark; Aspen RE, London; Rugby Art Gallery and Museum Collection. Since 2011, he has been professor of Visual Art and Painting at Bergen Academy of Art and Design, Norway. O’Kane lives and works in Odense, Denmark and Bergen, Norway.