Friday 13 December 2019

What lies beneath: All of Old

All of Old by Kathy Tynan, oil on canvas, courtesy Kevin Kavanagh Gallery

All of Old by Kathy Tynan
All of Old by Kathy Tynan

Niall MacMonagle

The dull ordinary and the everyday are what stop Kathy Tynan in her tracks. Council flats, a gable end, a wall along a road remain with her while walking around Dublin with her dog. "That's when my subject matter finds me." Back in her studio she recreates these images, images that "need to be painted in order to be appreciated as opposed to more obviously beautiful scenes".

In a painting she calls God is Greater than Goodness with its Beauty a shabby white gable end with down drainpipe is enlivened with birds perched along its pitched roof. Another painting in her new show is of saucepans bubbling on a gas hob, plastic salt container, oil, spatula, hand-written recipe book to hand. Its title - Curry Club - happily and humorously anticipates the meal to come. This image, All of Old, a phrase borrowed from Beckett's Worstward Ho, is of a house in Dublin 8, "somewhere between Dolphin's Barn and Inchicore. "I don't know who lives there but the colour, the flowers and ornaments outside caught my eye. I was listening to Nirvana when I painted it last summer which helped with the energy of it." Working from photographs - she's surprised that she hasn't got into trouble for photographing strangers' houses - her work's fluid, naïve quality is deliberate. "I paint fairly quickly, I like to employ a childlike gaze, as if I'm seeing it for the first time" and the "juiciness" of oil on canvas suits her. This tidy, trimmed, sky-blue house with its flower pots, railing, net curtains, its porch with Brigid's cross, little paintings, white kitten, is home to someone who is clearly house proud.

Tynan paints "with no particular response in mind but I do want to point to things in the world and hope that someone who saw a painting of mine might notice something extra about a scene that they would have overlooked before. I want to point to the equality and mystery of everything". For Tynan, the dull is never dull; the ordinary never ordinary.

Recent work by Kathy Tynan is on view at Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Chancery Lane, Dublin 8, until January 30.

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