Up the Walls, Model Niland

I ventured to the west coast last week for a look at one of the summer group painting shows; this one was in The Model. I hadn’t been to Model before so was eager to get to grips with the space. The programming there is innovative and in terms of integrating a collection with contemporary art they seem to always hit the mark. The space is impressive – if odd, one of these externally focused curtain-wall boxes, the gallery circumamulating the interior wall. The paintings shown were intersting in-terms of the swing towards didacticism, colour and social commentary. We have seem in the past few years a focus on colour block, heavy impasto and minimalism, however a change has come. The paintings of Carsten Fock, which are drawings, as much as paintings, are filled in with color chart strips; the paint applied in a skiming mannerism, much akin to architectonic scale drawings and this fashion is also quite in-vogue, not to mention choice for the venue. The precise nature of scale works however is offset by the drip of artistry and the commbination is wonderful. I particularly enjoyed Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor’s works, each displaying a social commentary particular to the artist’s home country; bodies heaving out from the heavy artillery of paint mounds, the struggle inherent in the story-making itself heard through the practicality of the medium. What I thought was pointed was the way in which these works ebbed easily into the Yeats’ paintings. Didactic exchanges and social protest litter both, but styistically they work. I have never been a Yeats fan, and I realise that this is often cause to send me on the emigrant ship of non-nationalist pride; however for the first time I could see feel that passion often described when looking at Yeats. I saw this because I had just seen the contemporary work, and as I mentioned in my previous post I do think collections have a role to play in the nausiating justification of art practice to which we are constantly exposed. In saying that the vainglorious rotation of works seen time and time again offers little in terms of contemporary exchange. It is this type of exhibtion, one that allows contemporary work into a dialogue with art from another era enlivens the latter and makes it relevant. One hopes now that IMMA-NGI-Crawford have pooled resources that someone in that mix can come forward and offer a relevant and exciting national collection show. http://themodel.ie/exhibitions

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