Nathalie Du Pasquier Top
From when she was 12, Nathalie Du Pasquier’s art-historian mother brought her to galleries and museums “to see mostly ancient art”, but Du Pasquier adds: “I am not of a generation where children were very pushed in fields that were considered adult themes.”
She collected stamps and remembers how she “liked very much those various little framed images”.
Born in Bordeaux, in her late teens she wanted “to go away from France” – and through “pure luck my boyfriend and I had the opportunity to help on a sailing boat travelling to Gabon, West Africa”.
There, in Port Gentil, “I loved the way people looked, they were beautiful and elegant. I admired the way they dressed and walked and laughed.”
And though Du Pasquier loved looking, she had “no idea that what I enjoyed looking at would in any way have an effect on my future”.
Having spent a year in Africa, back in Europe in 1977 she made “a kind of comic strip booklet with drawing from a story I had found in the Port Gentil newspaper”.
Du Pasquier did not go to art college but in Africa she discovered pattern and, having spent some time in Rome, was a founder member of the Memphis Group in Milan.
“Colour is life, the elements of design are the elements of life,” she says. Du Pasquier designed surfaces, textiles, carpets, blankets, bedding, Hermès scarves and dresses for Valentino.
“When, in 1985, I started to paint I was interested in representing things and I made still life paintings. Then I started to build little abstract constructions and represented them."
By 1987 painting became her main activity. An early work features a figure at a table in a dark room striking a match. Other early work includes still lifes: a glass, a cup, Tipp-Ex bottle, a shell, plug, jar, some fruit.
“Painting”, for Du Pasquier, is “about the history of humanity” and she believes “painting should be decorative and pleasant”. Inspired by “whatever happens to me, my life feeds into my work”. And that life is positive and optimistic.
When Irish artist Richard Gorman’s studio, close to Du Pasquier’s in Milan, was overshadowed by a skyscraper, to her friend Gorman’s complaint about his lack of light, Du Pasquier replied, “You can choose to like it.”
For her new site-specific show in Dublin, the Kerlin Gallery has transformed its John Pawson architect-designed white space, all 3,600 feet of it.
The walls have been painted a sandy beige, what Du Pasquier calls “cappuccino, depending on the milk”, and a black skirting and tall, black geometric shapes punctuate her colourful work.
Viewing this one, ‘Top’, oil on paper, the eye is drawn in different directions. Across circles, rectangles, that one black square and the three-dimensional object in 2D, the colours dance. For those painted wood objects, “I build the model, paint it and then I paint the object in front of me.”
She paints every day, she sees it as “a conversation with myself” and “looking at things I’ve liked have been my teachers”.
A limited-edition book accompanies this exhibition.
“Books,” she says, “are exhibitions without the transport, without the gallery” and “paintings are for people to meet in front of them and to talk about paintings and other things”. Anything. And everything.
‘Twice in Dublin’, Kerlin Gallery, Dublin, until October 8; nathaliedupasquier.com
Merrily, Merrily, Merrily. Merrily
Originally from Mayo but now Kilkenny-based, Ciarán Murphy’s new paintings feature unusual landscapes, insects, body parts, letters, architectural structures and abstract shapes. His work responds to irresistible, entrancing and anxiety-provoking visuals in an image-saturated world.
RHA Gallery, Dublin, until October 23
Neiland’s work explores the imprecise and mysterious nature of time. Born in Dublin, Neiland studied in London and at NCAD, lectures at IADT – and this new show depicts landscapes actual and imagined. One work features her daughter seated atop Killiney Hill, others capture celestial phenomena.
Taylor Galleries, Dublin, until October 1