Homeward bound

Home again today...very tired but my head buzzing with ideas. Look forward to getting back to work in the studio. I took this image through the plane window somewhere over France this afternoon.

Ronnie Hughes

New England Drawing 94, 2007
gouache on paper, 29 x 24 cm

he Gradual Materialisation of Essence
Rubicon Gallery private view Thursday 4th September, 6-8 pm

continues until Saturday 11th October 2008

Rubicon Gallery, 10 St. Stephens Green, Dublin 2, Ireland
Tuesday -Saturday 12-6 pm and by appointment

Ronnie Hughes’ new work springs from a two-month sojourn at the Albers’ Foundation in Connecticut in 2006 and by a further visit to the Vermont Studio Center. The intensity of these two New England residencies enabled Hughes’ practice to germinate in previously unimagined directions, focusing specifically on the process of drawing. The measured intimacy and quiet ‘slowness’ of these New England works are important factors for the artist and stand in marked contrast to much other contemporary art practice. The ‘drawing’ emphasis has since moved across and become a major determinant in the evolutionary process of Hughes’ paintings.
Hughes is interested in networks of analysis, methodology and interpretation. He feels that these new works share with their geographical source of origin a connection to a certain ‘enlightenment’ sensibility – a desire to uncover an underlying order in the apparent chaos of nature. The works take the form of corrupted abstractions that investigate, and at times conflate, various dichotomies e.g. natural/synthetic, order/entropy, abstraction/mimesis, nature/nurture. Hughes sees his activity as constructing (or, possibly, ‘exposing’) order within closed evolutionary systems that each conform to their own improvised sets of rules or conditions.

Ronnie Hughes was born in Belfast in 1965. He studied at the University of Ulster, receiving an MA in Fine Art in 1989. Hughes has had numerous solo exhibitions throughout Ireland (most recently at the Millennium Court Arts Centre in April) and has participated in group exhibitions worldwide including the forthcoming ‘Pure Optic Ray’ at Fred Leipzig. His work is held in many public and corporate collections including both Irish Arts Councils and the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

Robert Bordo at Alexander & Bonin

An exhibition of Robert Bordo's recent paintings, it's always raining, will open September 6th at Alexander and Bonin. Bordo continues to play with subject matter, both reducing and expanding upon the subjective language of painting. His new works highlight the ambiguity of content through an alternately humorous and self-conscious subterfuge.

Bordo's paintings directly reflect the natural environment around him as well as the ephemeral effects of light in his studio. He filters these elements through a rich palette and a conceit of subject interchangeability. There is a fluctuation between abstraction and representation. Erasure and the shifting of space and point of view exist both in observation and in the act of making a painting; as one plane is erased (by a storm of swiped paint or brushstrokes), another location is created, quickly apprehended and fixed in time.

Lyrical obtuseness and formalist paint handling work to both obscure and reveal. The edge-to-edge brushstrokes of Heatwave all but remove any recognizable images from the painting, while in it's almost raining, a line of small dots hints at a narrative. The combination of silent spaces and named places indicates narratives of location and intention, yet the landscape is altered, erased and cropped, creating a tension between lyricism, reality and the strangeness of the natural world.

Robert Bordo was born in Montreal and has lived in New York since 1972, exhibiting there regularly since 1987. He has also exhibited with Galerie René Blouin, Montreal and Rubicon Gallery, Dublin. In 2007 he was awarded a Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. He is a professor at the Cooper Union School of Art.

Images of works by Robert Bordo as well as biographical and bibliographic information can be viewed on www.alexanderandbonin.com. For photographs or further information, please contact Ariel Phillips at 212/367-7474 or ap@alexanderandbonin.com.


My parents house and garden in Knockmacool

Brother & sister

An image of my brother and sister....Kevin, me in the middle and Siobhan. It was taken the other day while in London...a rare moment together.

Speak, memory

Whilst away I have been reading Nabokov's extraordinary autobiography "Speak, memory".
It opens like this: "The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness. Although the two are identical twins, man, as a rule, views the prenatal abyss with more calm than the one he is heading for (at some forty-five hundred heartbeats an hour). I know, however, of a young chronophobiac who experienced something like panic when looking for the first time at homemade movies that had been taken a few weeks before his birth. He saw a world that was practically unchanged - the same house, the same people - and then he realised that he did not exist there at all and that nobody mourned his absence. He caught a glimpse of his mother waving from an upstairs window, and that unfamiliar gesture disturbed him, as if it were some mysterious farewell. But what particularly frightened him was the sight of a brand-new baby carriage standing there on the porch, with the smug, encroaching air of a coffin; even that was empty, as if, in the reverse course of events his very bones had disintegrated."

The day I flew to Cork from London, unbeknown to me, over one hundred and fifty people, many of them young children, perished in an air accident at Madrid airport. The plane was taking off and had reached the moment of no-return. For reasons as yet unknown the plane, hardly off the ground, plunged down again in waste land at the end of the runway becoming a ball of fire. Our existence which is so fragile, measured against the darkness around it becomes so strange...so full of beauty and dread.

Studio Visit - Sherman Sam

While in London I had the pleasure of visiting Sherman Sam's studio in Camden Town. He's making some very intense small scale oil paintings on wooden panels. The colour in them seems quite unusual...indeed it is difficult to think of other artists who might share a similar territory. His drawings are superb too...


I am now at my parents place in Knockmacool, West Cork, Ireland after staying a few days in London with my brother and his partner. Shortly before leaving my studio I was working on this painting...it's about 60x50cm, oil on canvas. I was trying to create an image where there is a hint of a deepening interior space which seems to collapse in on itself. I will report soon on my time here...watch this space!


On the move - Chris Martin

Chris Martin, Untitled, 2004

Away from the studio until the end of the month...I will be travelling to London and on to Ireland, spending time with friends and family. Hope to post while on the move...watch this space! I would like to draw your attention (if you don't already know his work) to the New York artist Chris Martin,here's a link to Mitchell-Innes & Nash where he showed earlier this year. Very physical urban paintings, I like very much how the surfaces function. A great pity we have not seen more of this artist in Europe...



A strange idea: the past and future in my work don’t really exist. Chronology doesn’t exist. Everything I have made only exists in the sphere of an eternal present (which is not even a “present” as there is no past or future to give it logical sense) – The temporal space in which my work has been made could be seen as a kind of zone. The works I made five years ago were not in reality made in the past but are being made “over there” in a certain area of the zone…in another area the works of ten years ago are coming into being. In a dark mysterious area the works of the future are already emerging. A bright agitated area is the location of works being made now. The surface of this zone is not stable….it’s almost liquid. The different areas mutate as they move and slide slowly over this surface and in some cases merge into each other; thus transforming the different areas and how they are perceived in the zone.


The poverty of them (these paintings) - an arrogant humilty perhaps.

Getting lost in the whole!

Browsing an earlier publication on my work from 2000 I came across these lines from a conversation with Andrew Bick, still equally relevant regarding my recent work:

AB: Drawing or painting, object or image, do these things matter, if so how?

PF: Objects in themselves tend to get lost in the world of things, the image (or I prefer to say the space of painting) tends to get lost in itself. This getting lost in itself is what interests me though it is dependent on the physical qualities of painting. There is no hierarchical structure in my work, I mean, for example drawing and works on paper are an integral part of a whole and have an equal value to the large paintings. As you know there are essential elements of drawing in the paintings and aspects of painting in the drawings, in fact I find it problematic to create two apparent aspects to my work, when in reality they are different parts of a whole…


A little closer...

Esta tarde...

This afternoon, working on the lattice/mesh paintings. Wet into wet - the corrections are fast. Getting light into them. The discarded, the forlorn, the everyday - finding some grandeur in that.


Esta tarde...

Comic dimension

"every really great thought must aspire to totality, and this tension invariably brings with it, in its very greatness, an element of caricature, a suggestion of self-parody."
Claudio Magris - Danube


Untitled, 2008, oil on canvas, 60x50cm (approx)