Monday 22 January 2018

What Lies Beneath: Untitled by Paul Doran

Untitled by Paul Doran, Oil, acrylic, Mixed media Courtesy of the artist

Untitled by Paul Doran
Untitled by Paul Doran

Niall MacMonagle

Oil on canvas, linen, board, paper. . . . And then there's Paul Doran's extraordinary work, Fragile, which is pure paint, a glorious, lush celebration of the medium and so sensuous one wants to reach for a spoon.

"It grew gradually. It began as a tiny lump of oil paint. I added to it over the years, an act of patience, a very pure and honest creative act."

Doran has "always felt connected to paint and its movement and how it can evoke a range of emotions and responses". Aged 13, "I made a watercolour of an onion and I felt I could peel the painting. It was more real than a photograph. A big moment, I think!"

He has exhibited in Cologne, Miami, Madrid. A New York gallery wanted to represent him, show his work, provide him with a studio, but Doran didn't bite and wouldn't budge. "A dream for most artists but a nightmare for me." Instead, he lives quietly, teaches at Gorey Community School and at Gorey School of Art. Doran also taught the now-established artists David Booth and Genieve Figgis.

Teaching? How?

"I try to encourage them to find who they are as an artist, how to think for themselves, free from fashions or trends. Mostly, I listen and encourage them to listen to themselves."

Every work in his new show at Hillsboro Fine Art (until September 5) is untitled. Earlier work had titles - Gorgeous, Banjaxed, Skater - but "titles are too closed for my liking. I resist things definite or certain. I like to keep things more open, allowing the viewer to play a more active, responsible role in the process."

In this small mixed-media work, a brightly painted panel, featuring a bird, partly obscures an intricately made, framed (nest-like?) oil painting. "It evolves in a very organic way; it would be impossible to plan it. I have no idea where the work will go."

Why the bird? "I loved bird-watching with my brother Peter as a boy and birds have a certain visual appeal. And I like the intimacy of smaller works, connected to the head almost like a book."

His house is his studio. Is he lonely? "I have a great interest in hermits and monks. I would happily live a life of solitude and silence if I could make things." And in solitude and silence he makes works that sing.

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