No Real Horizon
Short video of the exhibition https://youtu.be/454YqpvZJ_E

Oliver Sears Gallery, Dublin 15th October – 19th November 2015

In ‘the Lady from the Sea’, Derek Mahon’s interpretation of Henrik Ibsen’s poem, the female character dreams of the sea. Born on the coast but now living ten miles inland, she describes herself as a ‘troubled woman on the land’, whose other life is ‘blue water and sea-brine’. The male character asks her ‘How can you live here with no real horizon?’.

Donald Teskey found Mahon’s version of this poem after completing a series of plein air paintings in Sligo and Mayo, the mysterious counties of the Northwest. The tension between sea and land which begins with life emerging from the water to inhabit the swamps and forests is the story of man’s pre-history. Perhaps this preternatural connection to the poem is the element that most resonates with the artist. And where the subject matter moves from the coast and heads inland, the poem’s female character follows the same trajectory.

In Teskey’s words he tries to capture the altering states of defined, clear and solid form ‘to define the etheral’ and ‘represent the illusory’. The ‘no real horizon’ of the poem referes to the physical lack of delineation that only sea and sky define. Of course the inference is that the female character also lives without a real future, without hope. Teskey does not make quite such a harsh determination with his painting but, with the Mayo landscapes especially, one cannot escape the grim history of famine and emigration. The landscape seems to mourn its human history.

Oliver Sears
September 2015

Ocean Memory II
oil on canvas
120 x 150 cm
2015
Ocean Memory II
oil on canvas
120 x 150 cm
2015
The Lighthouse
acrylic on paper
39 x 41 cm
2015
The Lighthouse
acrylic on paper
39 x 41 cm
2015
Beyond the beach
acrylic on paper
64 x 76 cm
2015
Beyond the beach
acrylic on paper
64 x 76 cm
2015
Ocean Memory
oil on canvas
180 x 230 cm
2015
Ocean Memory
oil on canvas
180 x 230 cm
2015
Are Waves
acrylic on paper
39 x 41 cm
2015
Are Waves
acrylic on paper
39 x 41 cm
2015
Claggan Island
162 x 183 cm
oil on canvas
2015
Claggan Island
162 x 183 cm
oil on canvas
2015
Owenboy River II
acrylic on paper
64 x 76 cm
2015
Owenboy River II
acrylic on paper
64 x 76 cm
2015
Carrowkeel II
39 x 41 cm
acrylic on paper
2015
Carrowkeel II
39 x 41 cm
acrylic on paper
2015
Carrowkeel III
39 x 41 cm
acrylic on paper
2015
Carrowkeel III
39 x 41 cm
acrylic on paper
2015
Carrowkeel IV
39 x 41 cm
acrylic on paper
2015
Carrowkeel IV
39 x 41 cm
acrylic on paper
2015
Glenamoy I
42 x 52 cm
acrylic on paper laid on canvas
2015
Glenamoy I
42 x 52 cm
acrylic on paper laid on canvas
2015

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No Real Horizon

Oliver Sears Gallery, Dublin 15th October – 19th November 2015

In ‘the Lady from the Sea’, Derek Mahon’s interpretation of Henrik Ibsen’s poem, the female character dreams of the sea. Born on the coast but now living ten miles inland, she describes herself as a ‘troubled woman on the land’, whose other life is ‘blue water and sea-brine’. The male character asks her ‘How can you live here with no real horizon?’.

Donald Teskey found Mahon’s version of this poem after completing a series of plein air paintings in Sligo and Mayo, the mysterious counties of the Northwest. The tension between sea and land which begins with life emerging from the water to inhabit the swamps and forests is the story of man’s pre-history. Perhaps this preternatural connection to the poem is the element that most resonates with the artist. And where the subject matter moves from the coast and heads inland, the poem’s female character follows the same trajectory.

In Teskey’s words he tries to capture the altering states of defined, clear and solid form ‘to define the etheral’ and ‘represent the illusory’. The ‘no real horizon’ of the poem referes to the physical lack of delineation that only sea and sky define. Of course the inference is that the female character also lives without a real future, without hope. Teskey does not make quite such a harsh determination with his painting but, with the Mayo landscapes especially, one cannot escape the grim history of famine and emigration. The landscape seems to mourn its human history.

Oliver Sears
September 2015


Short video of the exhibition https://youtu.be/454YqpvZJ_E


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