Eoghan McGrath: Elisions

12 Apr 2018 – 1 May 2018

The Molesworth Gallery

County Dublin, Ireland


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In poetry, an elision is a letter, syllable, word or phrase omitted for the purpose of enhancing the work’s linguistic aesthetic. The element is often elided to create emphasis, generate a desired rhythm or regularise the metre.


Elisions are also important features of our visual world. The eyes are target-finding, aim-directing organs; we are never passive harvesters of visual data. In reality, a physiological blind spot accounts for a portion of our visual field, where the optic nerve meets our retina. Processes in our brains interpolate this blindspot based on surrounding detail and information from the other eye, smoothening the incongruity so that we do not normally perceive the visual elision.
__In this series of paintings, Eoghan McGrath attempts to parallel this innate gap-filling impulse. He sourced his photographic reference material from ordinary scenes from his locale, printed the images and chose one element to excise in each. He then superimposed the resulting incomplete image onto an abstract underpainting, allowing an emerging aesthetic to evolve around the juxtaposition of the painted realism and exposed abstract base. He sought a balance between the configuration of the abstract pattern, the shape of the the elision and the colour scheme of the new hybrid piece.
__The artist views the paintings as an attempt to marry a mannerism of a classical poetic technique to a series of mundane images. The titles are derived from elided words and phrases of literary works such as ‘Paradise Lost’ and ‘The Divine Comedy’, with the elided element conventionally indicated by an apostrophe.
__“I wanted to mirror our nature as confabulatory creatures,” McGrath says, “who constantly edit images and memories to conform to our narrative fantasies. Just as we edit a memory with each iteration to better serve our sense of ourselves, each painting was edited with strategic deletions to better serve and enhance its overall aesthetic.”

__Eoghan McGrath studied medicine at UCD but never practiced in the field, opting instead to train as an artist. He’s a regular exhibitor at the RHA Annual Exhibition, where he was awarded the K&M Evans Prize for painting, and at the RUA Annual Exhibition in Belfast. He was shortlisted for the inaugural Davy Portrait Prize in 2007 and the Hennessy Portrait Prize in 2017. Selected exhibitions include a solo show as artist in residence in Carton House and group shows at the Molesworth Gallery. His work is included in the OPW State Art Collection and the National Self-Portrait Collection of Ireland, along with other public and private collections, both nationally and internationally.

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Eoghan McGrath


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