Hughie O’Donoghue: Recent Paintings and Selected Works from the American Ireland Fund Donation at Irish Museum of Modern Art on artrepublic.com

Exhibition running from Mar 03 2009 until May 17 2009

Hughie O’Donoghue: Recent Paintings and Selected Works from the American Ireland Fund Donation marks a significant donation to IMMA of 39 works by the artist; the gift of an anonymous American collector, facilitated by the American Ireland Fund. Juxtaposed with seven paintings from the donation, are works from the artist’s own collection and loans from public and private collections revealing more recent developments in his practice. 

At the heart of the donation is a series of paintings on the subject of the Passion, commissioned by the American collector and completed over a period of ten years. As with all of O’Donoghue’s work, this involved a period of careful reflection, with the artist travelling to see several collections of religious works, from the great Tintoretto’s paintings in Venice to Barnett Newman’s Stations of the Cross in Washington. The result was 25 large-scale paintings, combining the figurative and the abstract to powerful emotional effect. The exhibition includes such notable works from the series as An Anatomy of Melancholy II, 1991-92, in which we see a ghostly figure descending, echoing, perhaps, Christ’s Descent from the Cross; also Blue Crucifixion, 1993-2003. The latter marked the end of this particular body of work and is considered by the artist to be the most important in the entire series, having been reworked over many years. Several paintings from the series were shown to great popular and critical acclaim in an exhibition of O’Donohgue’s work at the RHA Gallery in 1999. The IMMA donation includes a further 14 works, in addition to the Passion paintings.

The exhibition includes more recent paintings, including the Girl from Stellata, 2004, and Raft, 2005. Often of an epic scale, these paintings demonstrate O’Donoghue’s combination of painting and photographic techniques to produce a multi-layered image in which the photographic elements can dominate the image or be obliterated by over-painting. This technique forms a metaphor for the subject itself, as the artist highlights the extent to which history and memory are central to all of these works and their theme of man’s inability to learn from his own history.

Born in Manchester in 1953 and now based in Co Kilkenny, Hughie O’Donoghue has been exhibiting internationally, in solo and group exhibitions, since 1982, gaining a reputation as one of the leading painters of his generation. His paintings are included in important public collections, including the National Gallery, London; the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester; and the Arts Council of England. Recent exhibitions include Lost Histories: Imagined Realities, Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, 2008; Parables, Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris, 2008; The Geometry of Paths, James Hyman Gallery, London, 2008, and Last Poems, Galerie Michael Janssen, Berlin, 2007. 

OPENING HOURS: Tue - Sat: 10.00 - 17.30, Wed: 10.30 - 17.30, Sun: 12.00 - 17.30

Image Credts:

Slide Show 1:

Hughie O’Donoghue, Blue Crucifixion, 1993-2003, Oil on Linen, 330.2 x 823, Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Permanent Loan, American Ireland Fund

Hughie O’Donoghue, Raft, 2005, oil on linen canvas incorporating transparent photographic component, 206 x 305 cm, Private Collection, Courtesy James Hyman Gallery, London

Hughie O’Donoghue, Prodigal Son, 2004, oil on linen canvas incorporating transparent photographic component, 206 x 305 cm, Private Collection

Slide Show 2:

Hughie O’Donoghue, Night Sleeper II, 2008, oil on linen canvas incorporating transparent photographic component, 206 x 305cm, Courtesy James Hyman Gallery, London

Hughie O’Donoghue, The Measure of all Things II, 2008, oil on linen canvas incorporating transparent photographic component, 206 x 305 cm, Courtesy James Hyman Gallery, London

Hughie O’Donoghue, Yellow Man III, 2008, oil on linen canvas incorporating transparent photographic component, 207 x 243 cm, Private Collection, Courtesy James Hyman Gallery, London


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