Brendan Earley: Present Perfect
Present Perfect, an exhibition of new work by Brendan Earley, commissioned by Sirius Arts Centre for One Here Now: the Brian O’Doherty / Patrick Ireland Project, is a response to the restoration of One Here Now; a nine-part series of large wall paintings made by eminent New York-based Irish artist Brian O’Doherty in 1996.
For this new body of work, Earley’s approach has been research-orientated, investigating the history that lead Brian O’Doherty to create the original work at Sirius Arts Centre. This approach is in keeping with a renewed interest in Modernist history in contemporary art and to elucidate its relationship with our present.
Using textiles and embroidery in particular in his drawings and sculptures, Earley provides a meeting between the pictorial and the tactile to consider the conceptual implications of the woven structure and its relationship with time. By doing so, he aligns the work with some spatial experiments undertaken by minimalism and some forms of conceptual art of which Brian O’Doherty was a leading exponent.
The process of textile making alludes to the present moment – it becomes, through its own manufacturing, an embodiment of time itself, whether its the accelerated speed of industrial production of the linen, or the deliberate pace of the embroidery. Process, as a medium in itself, has always played a central role in Earley’s work. This element, allied with the language of assemblage, seeks to explore the unease relationship we have now between objective form and early visionary experiments in Modernism.
The notion of textiles as a constructed, complex, language-like form echoes themes in Brian O’Doherty’s murals, which comprise of abstract paintings and the ancient Irish alphabet of Ogham, thus developing a dialogue with O’Doherty’s concerns around language and Irish identity/colonial history. Books frequently appear in Earley’s work – either as physical props or a casual piles. The titles draw from a multiplicity of literary traditions, from postmodern crime fiction to aesthetic histories, evoking sustained contemplation and emotive tension.
Brendan Earley will be in conversation with writer and critic Chris Fite-Wassilak on the evening of the opening; Friday 04 May at 6pm. Free in, all welcome.
Chris Fite-Wassilak is a writer and critic based in London. He is a regular contributor to Apollo, Art Monthly, Art Papers, ArtReview and frieze. He is a contributing editor of ArtReview, and co-organiser with artist Anne Tallentire of the quarterly event ‘hmn’. His short book of essays, Ha-Ha Crystal (2016) is published by Copy Press.
Born 1971, lives and works in Wicklow. Through sculpture and drawing, Earley explores the apprehensive relationship between Modernist design and our contemporary culture to gain a fresh significance in an era of heightened awareness on climate change. Earley approaches art as tantamount to original visionary aspirations, where design and making become representative of a higher aspiration, both real and imagined. Inspired by alternative fiction, Modernist design and home craft, Earley reinvigorates Modernist tropes with a raw intimacy by utilising tactile, everyday materials.
After graduating from NCAD with first class honours, he spent a number of years travelling before receiving the Fulbright scholarship to attend Hunter College, New York City. Graduated with a Master in Fine Art in 1999 and returned to Dublin where he exhibits regularly. Recent exhibitions include I Went to the Woods, Glucksman Gallery (group) 2016, Life After Buildings, mothers tankstation(solo), 2017, Back of Beyond, Douglas Hyde Gallery 2 (solo) 2017. His work is in a number of public and private collections. He was awarded his PhD in 2010 from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin and is represented by mother’s tankstation Ltd.
Kindly supported by the Arts Council of Ireland, the Department of Culture Heritage and the Arts, Cork County Council, Colourtrend, the Port of Cork, Ronan Daly Jermyn and O’Leary Insurances.
We would also like to acknowledge the support of mother’s tankstation, Dublin | London
Cobh, Co. Cork