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Tuesday 27 September 2016

What Lies Beneath: Meridian by Tom Climent

Meridian by Tom Climent Oil on canvas, courtesy Solomon Fine Art

Niall MacMonagle

Published 09/05/2016 | 02:30

Meridian
Meridian

The sun, that 4.6 billion-year-old, far-away - 149 million kilometres away - burning star, and now 300 degrees hotter than it was when it was born, doesn't always deliver.

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Irish summers are hit-and-miss; ones, when the sun shone all the time, are still remembered. 1976 was good. On 29 June that year Boora, County Offaly, saw 32.5 degrees Celsius, the highest recorded 20th-century temperature on this island.

Tom Climent's recent work contains sunshine. Born and based in Cork, he says: "My father is from Valencia and we used to spend a lot of time there as kids. And I've lived there."

Working in a roof-top, open-air studio reminded him that Malaga winter skies are always blue and "the bright intense light there and the colours just fed into the work".

Recent work is "grounded in landscape," but they are imaginary, even idealised places.

Valleys, mountains, fields seen from above, are all elements in them. As are the structures that you might find on a journey - shelters, sheds, out-houses and "this idea of a journey, of searching for something relates, for me, to the act of painting itself".

Climent loved both science and art at school.

"One, based on logic, structure and reason, the other embracing chance, spontaneity and accident."

Later he abandoned engineering for art. From large "gestural, figurative, expressionist" paintings he realised, aged 30, that "shape, structure, colour" would be his focus.

"I made a deliberate effort to try and work small and contain the energy I was trying to convey, to structure the work in a much more deliberate and controlled way," he says.

This image, Meridian, took months.

Structure or colour, which came first? "Structure, but only just".

It reminds him of a "three-dimensional sundial, almost, and I wanted to call it something that would reflect both a sense of time and also the sun or the passage of the sun across the sky and how this shapes our day".

No hard-edge here. The canvas is alight and, using liquid gold leaf, "a distillation of the glow of the sun". Climent's creation glows with a beautiful and glorious warmth.

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