Excavations
Hughie O'Donoghue

Alchemy, transformation and fire are at the heart of this new group of works inspired and located on the western seaboard of Ireland.

O’Donoghue has reinvented images of the Plassy (shipwrecked off the shores of Inis Oirr) for over twenty years, assigning the ship numerous guises and identities. In these new paintings, the Plassy is reincarnated in the form of The Demeter, referencing Bram Stokers Dracula, but more particularly Murnau’s masterpiece of German expressionist cinema, Nosferatu, a film which was banned and almost lost entirely to posterity, only recently restored to something approaching its original form. The film itself, along with the ship, is part of the subject of these works. As well as the weathered and excavated surfaces typical of O’Donoghue’s paintings there is also a cinematic quality to many of these images.

Fire is the elemental force foregrounded in the series of paintings. Shaen’s Furnace inspired by an ancient abandoned furnace, close to the artist’s County Mayo studio. Indistinct and crumbling forms of the ancient structure, are shaped and reformed in works that locate themselves in the hinterland between abstraction and figuration and reference the ancient process of the transformation of raw matter into metal.

The show ran concurrently with the artist’s exhibition of large scale paintings, constructions and sculpture, The Red Earth at Visual, Carlow. 2016.

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