What Lies Beneath: 11/3/18 by Marc Reilly
11/3/18 by Marc Reilly, Watercolour, Courtesy of the artist and The Paul Kane Gallery
Remember those first, gently zigzagging snowflakes? And the driving wind, the snowdrifts, the sky dumping truckloads of snow, power outages, frozen pipes, panic bread buying, cabin fever? And Ireland put up the 'Closed' sign. For artist Marc Reilly, it's an ill storm that blows no good. His taps froze, roads were impossible, no one was dashing through the snow in his neck of the hills in County Wicklow, but on Saturday, March 3, out he went and made this delicately beautiful work. Clara Laragh is Reilly's stamping ground. "I am spoiled for choice as it is my back garden. The area is always changing and the horses are my neighbours. They put up with me drawing them," he says.
11/3/18 on Fabriano 5 paper, "smooth and white", was painted there and then, close to home, in three quarters of an hour. "All this direct observation work is done in situ, one shot," he says. "It works or it doesn't. The date and time and occasional observations can be noted on the sheets as a way of remembering, a way of placing them in context. A visual diary."
Art is his world, Reilly's father, an Irish Watercolour Society member, had solo exhibitions at home and abroad. One brother, a sculptor/printer in Cork, lectures in Waterford; another, LA-based, is a painter/filmmaker and installation technician in art fairs around the world. And Reilly lectures at NCAD, where he loves the interaction with students, their response. "It is a pleasure and honour always to be in that position. They give me so much."
A cold spring, a delayed spring meant that in 11/3/18 some trees are still skeletal. From where Reilly stood, the field slopes down to an empty road, the wide white expanse broken only by boot prints and a tiny bit of green peeking through. But beyond, in jewel-like colours, bushes, trees, the hills glow. His style, he agrees, is loose watercolour and "the process is still the same. Trial and error and never learning by the mistakes!" in this work you just sense the crisp, clean, exhilarating air.
And what was Marc Reilly thinking that day? "About the quiet, the space, about going home, lighting the fire, opening a bottle of Prosecco." Crisp. Chilled.
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