Paintings from Poland: Symbolism to Modern Art (1880-1939)

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  • Irish Arts Review

    Paintings from Poland: Symbolism to Modern Art (1880-1939)Irish Arts Review (2002-), Vol. 25, No. 1 (Spring, 2008), p. 142Published by: Irish Arts ReviewStable URL: .Accessed: 12/06/2014 23:34

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  • At n-b

    Patrick Hall: Drawings IMMA, Dublin, 2007

    pp.158, p/b, 90 ills in col & b/w

    _29.95 ISBN:978-1-903811-77-1

    Readability: *****

    Reference: **** r

    Design & Durability: *****

    Quality of Plates: *****

    This is a survey of almost one hundred of

    Patrick Hall's drawings, made during the

    last fifteen years. The artist, often brack

    eted with Brian Maguire and Paddy

    Graham during the 1980s, is one of the

    most complex of living Irish artists. IMMA now seem to have got into their

    stride in terms of producing catalogues, especially for Irish artists. This one con

    tains two essays, one by the New York

    critic Michele C Cone, and one by Karim

    White which gets closest to beginning to

    explain the profoundly metaphysical aspects of his work. There is also a solid

    iP a* interview by Karen Sweeney, which is

    complemented by a CV, and a chronolog

    ical list of works, referenced to the illus

    trations. Worth buying.

    Miroslaw Balka, Tristes Tropiques IMMA, Dublin, 2007

    pp. 140, numerous b/w ills

    634.95 ISBN: 978-1-903811-78-9

    Readability: *****

    Reference: *** r

    Design & Durability: *****

    Quality of Plates: *** r *

    Balka is a Polish artist, born near Warsaw

    in 1958 who has exhibited widely over

    the last fifteen years. The work is almost

    austerely minimalist and conceptual, though both essays in the book (by

    Juncosa and Mac Giolla Leith) are at

    pains to convince us that it is deeply

    autobiographical and redolent of Poland's troubled political history. Maybe. Oddly enough, the design, by a London firm,

    and the printing, by a Netherlandish one,

    mimic the run-down, poor quality cata

    logues of Polish art institutions in the

    1980 and 1990s by using heavy unsur

    faced paper, with the result that the visu

    als as well as the rest of the book have

    that grey, grainy, flattened out look that

    one associates with newspaper print.

    There is a brief CV and a checklist of

    works cross-indexed to the illustrations.

    Eddie Kennedy Hillsboro Fine Art, Dublin, 2007

    pp. 56, c.40 col. ills oblong h/b

    620.00 ISBN: 978-0-9556736-0-3

    Readability: *****

    Reference: *****

    Design & Durability: *****

    Quality of Plates: *****

    This is a very attractive little catalogue

    which contains a forward by Donald

    Teskey, a helpful essay by Aidan Dunne,

    and a really good interview with the

    artist by Paddy McGovern. The artist,

    who lived in the USA for a while, makes

    work loosely based on landscape and

    seascape. There is a short CV but no list

    of illustrations.

    Paintings from Poland: Symbolism to Modern Art (1 880-1939) National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, 2007

    pp. 203, c. 70 col. ills large format p/b

    E625.00 ISBN: 978-1-904288-27-5

    Readability: *****

    Reference: ****

    Design & Durability: *****

    Quality of Plates: ****

    In theory this exhibition and book are

    focused on the Symbolist period and its

    immediate aftermath, up to the late 1930s.

    What comes across most strongly is that

    Polish artists, irrespective of what style they are working in, tend to have real 'content'.

    Whether they are exploring the Polish psy

    che (its 'national' consciousness) or them

    selves, whether looking at landscape or

    narrative or creating a fantasy, there are

    always subtexts, often political ones. The

    catalogue wants to separate Symbolism

    from Expressionism and so forth but this

    seems unlikely in the sense that there is a

    clear desire to express something, whether coded or not, and this aspect runs through

    Polish art, even up to the recent present,

    and especially during the Solidarity period. Much of the work is more properly called

    Fantasy rather than Symbolism in that it is

    rooted in flights of the imagination which take wing from myth and fairy-tale.

    Interestingly (though not explored in the catalogue) there are strong connections to Irish art, and especially the Northern vari

    ety (from Middleton to Pakenham) and

    even more surprisingly, there is little refer ence to religion, even though it is perfectly clear that the Polish Church (right wing,

    politically coded, often at odds with its

    artists) is clearly a major influence upon

    the work. There is a short bibliography but

    no list of illustrations, and a short essay on

    each illustration.

    Robert Bordo: Blind Spot Rubicon Gallery, Dublin, 2007

    unpaginated, 15 col. ills. Small oblong h/b

    F30.00 ISBN: 978-0-9554084-4-1

    Readability: *****

    Reference: ** n

    Design & Durability: *****

    Quality of Plates: *****

    This is an elegant, somewhat over

    designed catalogue for the Canadian

    painter Robert Bordo who studied in New

    York under Philip Guston and who wish

    es to 'integrate an essentially abstract

    painting language with themes and

    metaphors that reflect my interest in landscape, modernist painting and mem ory'. Short useful essay by Aidan Dunne,

    plus CV, but no list of works. -

    BRIAN McAVERA is an art critic.

    1 4 2 1 I1R I S 11 AR 1 TS R E V I E-, W S P R I N GJ 2 00 8

    This content downloaded from on Thu, 12 Jun 2014 23:34:47 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

    Article Contentsp. 142

    Issue Table of ContentsIrish Arts Review (2002-), Vol. 25, No. 1 (Spring, 2008), pp. 1-144Front MatterDiary 2008 [pp. 32-34, 36, 38, 40, 42, 44]Listings [pp. 46, 48, 50]Auctions: Under the HammerRise in Popularity for Gerard Dillon [p. 52-52]Verschoyle Archive Doubles Estimate [pp. 52-53]Real or Fake: Engraved Glass Still Collectable [p. 53-53]Rare Suite of Belvoir Views at Sotheby's [p. 54-54]Vibrant Tapestry Fails to Attract Collectors [p. 56-56]Booker Mirror Exceeds Estimate at Mealy's [p. 56-56]Poor Appetite for Political Art [p. 58-58]

    Editor's Letter [p. 60-60]Open/Invited ev+a 2008 [pp. 62-63]Brian Maguire: Hidden Islands [pp. 64-65]The Geometry of Paths [pp. 66-67]Melita Denara: Upon the Glad Earth [pp. 68-69]The Lithographer's Mark [pp. 70-77]Revelation [pp. 78-83]Eamonn O'Doherty: Genius Loci [pp. 84-87]Cecil King: A Legacy of Painting [pp. 88-91]Ghosts of the Faithful Departed [pp. 92-95]Notes from Estella [pp. 96-99]Vignettes of Family Life [pp. 100-105]Fota's Interior Landscape [pp. 106-109]South Sea Treasures [pp. 110-115]Fernhill [pp. 116-119]Rites of Passage [pp. 120-123]Design Portfolio [pp. 124-126, 128, 130, 132]ReviewsBooksReview: untitled [pp. 134-135]Review: untitled [pp. 135-136]Review: untitled [p. 136-136]Review: untitled [p. 137-137]Review: untitled [pp. 137-138]Review: untitled [pp. 138, 140]Review: untitled [p. 140-140]

    CataloguesReview: untitled [p. 142-142]Review: untitled [p. 142-142]Review: untitled [p. 142-142]Review: untitled [p. 142-142]Review: untitled [p. 142-142]

    Curator's ChoiceThe Waterford Madonna Lactans [p. 144-144]

    Back Matter