Sunday, May 31, 2015

Completing the Circle

Approaching the canvas with a loaded brush. In comfort or with pressure to perform. But always with the truth and acceptance that this is what you should be doing. That there is nothing else to do. You are removed from yourself and the painter is working. Not as a painter making pictures, but as an artist painting paint. 

In conversation with Richard Hearns we discuss the possibilities and challenges of paint. How to build trust, resist doubt, resists outside interference.He knows the paint. The techniques and traditions of oil painting. How to apply it to make a representational image. But in this body of work he wishes to disassociate from the quantifiable and the known. The spiritual quality of the paint take precedence. 

We talk a lot about spirit, how to feed a painting with spirit. How the medium of paint is charged and how we attempt to render, capture and recognise the moment that paint, emotion and skill come together. When the circle is complete and the energy that is spent is balanced and floating in meaningful ratios on the canvas. 

Richard Hearns gives life to a flat surface.   He wills the image into existence without a pre-conceived idea of how it must be.Each approach to the canvas is loaded with emotions. Bundles of emotions all channeled to the tip of his brush.

And then the physical action of painting at this scale. The trained body. Trained by Martial Arts, by exercise. The physical exertion at the moment in front of the canvas. Relying on your training and a profound intent. "Its as if you are in a boxing ring, standing alone in the center of the square canvas. You open your eyes to an opponent and you must use the force of the opponent to defeat it. But there is no opponent - only yourself to counter-weight, parry, and engage".

All thoughts and emotions, spinning in a huge circular chamber, looking for an opening. Like the Large Hadron Collider, which was built to address some of the unsolved questions of Physics, his emotions are running at quantum speed. The artist is a huge emotional machine, a channel. He is working to prove something that can be felt but not fully understood. To create and discover something new and exciting. Essentially he believes that  through the possibilities of paint there is an answer to life's unresolved questions and that through paint something fundamental or god-like can be revealed.


The short Essay above was written during my stay in Barcelona earlier this year by my friend Mark Redden, painter and traditional boat builder. I've known Mark since I was seventeen years old. We met a year before we began college and have reminded close friends eversince.  Mark just opened a show of his works,  at the Museu Marítim de Barcelona.

This essay 'Completing the Circle' along with a projected documentary HD video piece will accompany 'Crucible', my exhibition of large scale informal abstract paintings at the Burren College of Art. Opening to the public this Thursday at 7PM. The show runs from June 4th to July 4th 2015. Hope you can visit and join me there.

- Richard

Catalogue - oil on linen - 178 x 135cms
Private Collection, Ireland.

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