The Hunt Museum, Limerick. 1st December 2016 – 19th February 2017
“The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul.”
Donald Teskey’s affinity for the ocean and its moods is palpable in Weather Gauge, a new exhibition at The Hunt Museum. He has long been inspired by the sea and captures the essence of the west coast of Ireland in his powerfully evocative paintings of waves crashing against rocks on the county Mayo shoreline. Teskey’s portrayal of the Atlantic and its environs brings us to an understanding of how our natural surroundings have the power to instill in us a sense of place and shape our identity.
The semi-abstract form of the terrain lends itself to his method of applying paint; reefs are sculpted in thick oils using a painting knife, and the momentum of tides is conveyed with vigorous strokes of the brush. His studies of waves breaking against the coastal bluff demonstrate the intensity of the elements and counter his brief series of quiet farmsteads. In an inventive use of the diptych configuration, rocks and waves slam into one another as if to suggest the monumental collision of tectonic plates.
Teskey is the ‘weather gauge’. As a weather station measures the climate using automated equipment, he witnesses the shifting atmospheric conditions with his own sensory tools. Relying not just on his sight, Teskey hears the agitated surf and feels the capricious wind; he smells and tastes salty air and he places it all on his canvas. Always mindful of being in the moment, it is observation by absorption.
In nautical terms, the ‘weather gauge’ describes the favourable position of a sailing vessel relative to the wind that allows it to attack or retreat at will. Teskey does both, combining his customary energetic approach with a sense of solitary contemplation. There are no safe havens depicted in his seascapes, only nature’s perils, but it is clear that this sublime demesne provides a beautiful refuge.
The Hunt Museum is delighted to feature this exhibition by the Limerick-born artist. We would like to thank the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and The Board of The Hunt Museum for their continued support. Working on this exhibition has been a pleasure and we hope that all of our visitors enjoy the experience.
Naomi O’Nolan Nicole Collins
Head of Exhibitions