Some Untidy Spot
This exhibition presents Stephen Lawlor's new body of paintings. The title, Some Untidy Spot is borrowed from W.H. Auden’s 1938 poem, 'Musée de Beaux Arts' which focuses its attention on Bruegel’s Fall of Icarus as a perfect cipher for the continuum of life regardless of the punctuation of toil and suffering.
Here, Lawlor makes art about art. This particular ambit of interest is with western painting between 1400 and 1800, a period of enormous change that ushers in the renaissance and passes through the baroque and the age of enlightenment and ends with revolution and the cusp of industrialisation.
The individual paintings that inspire Lawlor range from Ucello to Titian, Poussin to Delacroix. The subjects as diverse as portraiture, landscape and mythology.
By deconstructing key paintings in the history of art and reimagining them in a contemporary context, Lawlor invites the viewer to make fresh connections and pose new questions about these enormously influential masterpieces. The small scale intimacy of the canvases are not pastiches. Some have only a faint resonance to the originals, others bear a stronger resemblance. For Lawlor the realisation of these works has been a fraught, emotional struggle that has yielded, from a profound grasp of art history, a complex, but powerful and confident interpretation of classical painting today.