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Exhibition @ Hamilton Gallery




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Dream Monument
Ground Night Lake After Blakelock
Tarn Mist
Evening Light  


Aug 11th, 2014 Aug 30th, 2014

  Helen O Toole

Painting has become a vehicle to begin to articulate the memories of growing up in an unforgiving limestone landscape, and the layers of longing and bittersweet histories. The paintings are built slowly, made in layers, with a similar measure to working the soil, revealing the strata of the bog, negotiating clumsy, crusty limestone fields at a deliberate pace, with the belief that life continues and the work will get done. The nature of my painting is as if reclaiming one of my father’s fields, by stripping it of its limestone heritage, to later cover it with soil, concealing what was, with the optimism of progress and a better future. Through insistent layers of paint that are scraped, pulled, touched, rubbed and felt, I approach a sense of the abyss that is again and again covered up, as if even memory too needs to be evaded, like reality and its representation. Each layer of paint is potent and becomes a means to question what is real and what is not. For me painting has parallels with the literal layers found in nature but more importantly the layers of the rural. The slowness in painting is crucial in order to arrive at a “pitch” or threshold in my work, a prolonged moment, where the vast space of the painting starts to evoke an image with depth and resonance. Unlocking and arriving at a pitch, something perhaps unnamable within the painting and within the self relies on an awareness of how the process and ideas behind the work materialize to form a whole.The process is ruminant like the rural landscape.

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