| 18.6°C Dublin

What Lies Beneath: How Sarah Iremonger’s habitual creativity became a way of coping with loss

Close

Bright ideas – ‘2 Pivotal Vessels / multiple countries and times, 2021’

Bright ideas – ‘2 Pivotal Vessels / multiple countries and times, 2021’

Patrick MacAllister's Untitled

Patrick MacAllister's Untitled

Kathy Tynan's The Breeze

Kathy Tynan's The Breeze

/

Bright ideas – ‘2 Pivotal Vessels / multiple countries and times, 2021’

2 Pivotal Vessels/multiple countries and times (2021) Sarah Iremonger

Sometimes around 1969, Sarah Iremonger saw her first easel “with pots of paints” – and she still remembers the feeling. “I wanted to throw myself at the easel, that I had to inhabit it.” Even then, aged three, she knew art would be her life.

Her parents’ antique business meant their house was filled with the results of country house sales.

"Things surrounded me as I grew up with an almost spiritual quality of desire, while at the same time always transient – always on the way out the door.”

Iremonger went to Milltown’s Alexandra College, “it had a great art department”, and NCAD. “I was on a high for the whole of first year. I could do art all day, every day.”

Her interest in philosophy led to an MA in fine art that helped her “make the transition to a conceptual way of thinking and a realisation that any medium was relevant”.

Iremonger’s oeuvre is impressively varied: neon tubing installations, work based on found and popular culture images of The Simpsons, Princess Diana, David Beckham. A 1999 piece playfully reimagines Turner, Constable, Matisse; her films feature youths driving doughnuts, rain near Loughine, and hunting box cameras in Wiepersdorf.

She also collaborated with her late partner, poet Derek Mahon. Their artistic collaborations – ‘Horizons’, ‘Atlantis’ and ‘The Rain Bridge’ – “grew out of a dedicated habit of work and enquiry through the experience of living together”.

In a paper delivered at Sorbonne Nouvelle University, Iremonger spoke of how being with Mahon “felt like floating above the ground as we walked together around Kinsale, the joy and excitement of being together, the work we would do, the endless possibilities. We were rarely out of ‘the zone’, as Derek liked to call it – where thinking and action merge.”

After many years of making installations, and encouraged by Mahon – “and because video and smart phone photography are so ubiquitous” –
Iremonger returned to painting, her new work in watercolour. What she calls “this habit of creativity” has been “an invaluable way of coping with his loss”.

Video of the Day

Iremonger’s early paintings, using “ultramarine, phthalo, Prussian blues, viridian and olive greens in thin translucent layers”, captured “nature at twilight and the dark shadows under bridges on water” and her subject “then as now is about perception”. In the 1990s, she realised that “the fact of our perception is reliant on context” and “that what we see is an illusion, a constantly shifting evolving reality.”

‘2 Pivotal Vessels / multiple countries and times, 2021’, was prompted by an antiquarian book she inherited from her father. Iremonger read that flowers are vessels of meaning – snowdrops for example contain consolation – which led her to researching vessels across time and territories.

Choosing seven vessels in all, and using cyan, magenta and yellow, Iremonger created kaleidoscopic, dynamic shapes using different vessel combinations. Transparencies and computer programs allowed her to “resize, trace, print and test different combinations and scales.”

In this dazzling and beautiful watercolour – “each colour chosen and painted separately” – vessels from Thailand (250BC), and Turkey (1547AD) contain in their layering a new energy, a lightness – and prove what Mahon said of Sarah Iremonger: “Her horizons define themselves not in realistic, or even abstract terms, but in imaginative ones: what lies beyond.”

sarahiremonger.com; Instagram @sarahiremonger

On show: Two to view

Close

Kathy Tynan's The Breeze

Kathy Tynan's The Breeze

Kathy Tynan's The Breeze

Kathy Tynan
Soft Fascination

Dubliner Kathy Tynan’s oil on canvases in this new exhibition are inspired by her interaction with nature and animals and how her mind relaxes, especially when she is walking along the canal with her two-year-old boy Frank and engaging with the world about them.

Her entire practice, she says, is geared towards “finding interesting moments”, her style “loose, naive and childlike”, containing “delicate lines” that “catch the eye in a certain way”.

Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin, until July 16

Close

Patrick MacAllister's Untitled

Patrick MacAllister's Untitled

Patrick MacAllister's Untitled


Patrick MacAllister
Peering Out

Bray-based Patrick MacAllister says “I work best in an intuitive, improvisatory manner, often from historic footage, local and urban landscapes, other artworks or anything that triggers the imagination”. Using “a range of industrial tools to find marks that reflect my response”, he endeavours “to get under the surface of any subject”.

Prior themes included the Dublin lockout and bog bodies – but this new work is inspired by the materials themselves.

Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray, until August 13


Related topics


Most Watched





Privacy