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Sarah Iremonger


12 May - 16 June 2022

Darken our blinding light a bit
and turn the volume down so we can hear
ourselves thinking, if we’ve a taste for thought;
even now the obscure silences might survive
where an original thought can thrive.


Derek Mahon



Oliver Sears Gallery is pleased to present Vessels by Cork based artist, Sarah Iremonger, her first exhibition at the gallery.


Begun in 2019, these small scale, meticulous compositions in watercolour emerge from a rigorous self-imposed system of image making. Taking the basic shapes of vessels in the form of silhouette, from Turkey, Iran, North America, Sudan, Thailand, Pakistan and Syria that date back as far as 3,500 years, Iremonger uses cyan, magenta and yellow, picking out one pure colour for each vessel. By layering the vessels on top of each other, the overlapping intersections form new colours. This act of superimposition lends an appearance of a Venn diagram, the logical system devised in the 1880’s by John Venn to express the relationship between sets. Iremonger says ‘The idea of the Venn diagram was an important development as it gave the work the possibility of a self-directed integrity, with an internal logic that 'generates the thing to be done' (Catherine Harty 2021).


It is clear that the interplay between these vessels which represent such a broad expanse of  geography, politics and time is, itself an examination of multi-culturalism; how cultures evolve, influence each other or even remain isolated. As the series evolves, the works becomes increasingly complicated until the artist sets aside her rigid parameters. Individual colours are still visible but as fragments rather than blocks; colours as federalism ceding from nation states, perhaps.


And added to Iremonger’s visual considerations are the reflections she shared with her late partner, the poet Derek Mahon on the nature of reality. In Mahon’ s essay Space Time: East Cork in Red Sails, (Derek Mahon, The Gallery Press, 2014) he writes, “Seeing is believing (A New Theory of Vision, 1707); as we know, ‘to be is to be perceived’, both people and things. The often swiftly alternating sun-and cloud evolution characteristic of Irish skies….promotes a ‘now you see it, now you don’t cast of mind. At fanciful moments existence and non-existence seem to leave themselves open to question”.


Extract from Radiance in Washing Up, The Gallery Press 2020. Sarah Iremonger received a Cork County Council Creative Artists Bursary 2022 towards this exhibition.

Click for: Artist's Biography 


To book a visit please contact the gallery.

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