12 Flower Paintings
Katherine Boucher Beug
24 September - 18 December 2020
Oliver Sears Gallery is pleased to announce the launch of Twelve Flower Paintings, a new exhibition by the Cork based painter, Katherine Boucher Beug. A consummate and skilled draughtsman, Boucher Beug has nonetheless always been a painter with a specific expertise in colour theory. This current body of work has its genesis about five years ago when the artist realized that her painting facility was not as fluent as her drawing skill. She writes, ‘ Drawing was my realm, the instrument I was master of, but painting lagged behind. I needed to develop a more fluent, sensual use of paint. To remedy this problem, I decided to do a painting-a-day. The more I developed my relationship with paint, the more closely and often sub-consciously the painting became an expression of my fluctuating mood, and reactions to events outside myself. This immersion in paint led to the Flower Paintings.’
Spending time working in ceramics also led Boucher Beug to look at the importance of the vases or containers of the flowers she was painting; a device that would formalise her subject on the one hand and allow for an imagined new dimension on the other. These vases sometimes sit directly onto a surface or table, other times rest on a plate or a small pile of books. In each image there are three separate elements that collude and corroborate the time and place of the artist’s narrative. Her use of paint is uniquely painterly, yet relies on the physicality of drawing. The flowers are manipulated in paint to reflect mood. The vases and additional props support the flowers literally; they represent the solid state (to quote Dylan Thomas) that outlives its maker. The third component is the negative space giving light and shadow, the markers of time.
There is a strong influence of the Bolognese still life painter Giorgio Morandi whom Boucher Beug often references in her writing. While Morandi, who died in 1968, spent most of his artistic endeavour distilling his understanding of still life (The most recognisable paintings only happen in the last fifteen years of his life) Boucher Beug has a much more diverse practice including installation, still life, abstraction and portraiture. Her mark making, sense of colour and raw intelligence always make for compelling viewing and, like all gifted artists, everything she knows about the world is reflected in a single painting. Her choice to live in rural Ireland was an ideal setting to develop her passion for gardening. Her subject matter is nurtured and observed through its natural cycle at close quarters. This intimate dynamic is seminal, in the truest sense of the word to her process of depicting the world in which she is embedded. Her isolation in West Cork over fifty years has allowed her precious time to understand her own creative purpose and refine her painting skill, an artist’s life not unlike the great Morandi, who seldom left his studio during his long career.
Katherine Boucher Beug has been associated with Oliver Sears for almost thirty years. These new paintings, intimate in scale, take references and cues from the work produced over these three decades, marrying what she knows with what she’s just discovered and, as always, imbue the viewer with her own sense of newness, intellect and wonder at the world.