Patrick O'Reilly (1957-) b. Kilkenny

portrait

Patrick O'Reilly in the space of less than a decade has advanced over the Irish art scene with the energy and seeming unstoppability of an Atlantic gale.  He first came to my own attention in the prestigious Galway's Arts Week a few years ago, when he showed a large installation-style work called "the Monkey Trap" -really, a whole nexus of thematically related but wildly contrasting pieces.  As I wrote at the time for 'The Irish Times', his only problem seemed to be that of 'having to many ideas instead of too few'.  This fertility was teamed with astonishing technical resource; he seemed to have a one-man factory at his disposal.   The impression of a radical new talent was enhanced later in the same year (1996) by his exhibition at the Hugh lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art in Dublin.

Where to fit him, and how to describe or label him?  As an installationaist?  That among other things, yet as this present exhibition shows, he is fully capable of producing small bronzes with a kind of dreamlike, surreal exactitude as well as large works in fibreglass.   A Pop Expressionist?  He may be pop in the sense he draws from contemporary imagery ranging from fair ground figures to horror comics, but there is a humour and imaginative freedom in his approach which lifts him well about the often lurid, tasteless and generally witless world of so much eighties art, typified by the now almost forgotten trend known as Bad Painting.  (was there also something called Bad Sculpture? If so I cannot remember it).

O'Reilly is an eruptive, inventive and anarchic in his small pieces as in his large ones.  He is perfectly at home in his wide variations of scale and has even constructed a stre3et sculpture in Dublin which he calls the 'Rockets' and which towers to fifty feet high.  However it would be an injustice to regard him as essentially a virtuos of startling effects and quickfire technical invention; there is an underlying note of social compassion and an identification with the lonely, the misfits and the unwanted ones of society.  The carnival of modern life he presents has it's shadows and cruel spots, which may easily be missed behind a hectic or gaudy vitality.  And from a certain angle,  O'Reilly can also be seem as one of the creators of a new kind of folk culture and street mythology.

Brian Fallon, author and art critic

Shows
Selected Group Exhibitions
1975-76 Belfast college of Art
1997 Tefaf International Art fair, Maastricht
1998 Sotheby's Art Auction (for musee d'Art de Tel Aviv) Paris
Tefaf International Art fair, Maastricht
85 Years of Sculpture, Mayor Gallery, London
1999 Art Miami '99, International Art fair, Florida, USA
Annual Exhibition, RHA, Dublin
La Renaissaince Du Bijou, Gallery Piltzer, Paris
20th Century British Sculpture, The Haig Holland
Case '99 The Lavit Gallery, Cork
2000 2000 Nains, A Bagatelle, Paris
Tefaf International Art fair, Maastricht
Annual Exhibition, RHA, Dublin
L'Art du Gardin, Paris
Solomon Gallery Summer Show, Dublin
L'Homme qui Marche, The Haig
One Man Exhibitions
1996 The Monkey Trap, Galway Arts Festival
The Silent Scream, Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery, Dublin
1997 The Porcalain Drum, The Mayor Gallery, London
The Soul Agent, the Model Arts Centre, Sligo
The Marching Hare, Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast
The Loss of Love, The Gallery Piltzer, Paris
1998 Art for Sale, Street Performance, Grafton street, Dublin
Various Postulations, Galway Arts festival
New Work, Solomon Gallery, Dublin
A Not So Still Life, triskel Artys Centre, Cork
1999 A Broken Wing, The Mayor Gallery, London
1999/2000 Nouveau Baroque, Gallerie piltzer, Paris
2000 Galwerie Kyra, Maralt,Berlin
Commisions and Projects
1998 The Boundry Kings, Street Sculpture, Thomas Street, Dublin
Bird, Street Sculpture, O'Connell Street, Dublin
Diamonds in the Soil, Theatre Production - with Macnas
Art by the Yard, Performance, Grafton Street, Dublin
1999 DJ Kilkenny Arts Festival
Liberties Rocket, Dublin
Still Searching, City Theatre, Galway
2000 The Last Days of Olie Deasy - with Macnas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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