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‘Patrick Scott Image Space Light’ opens at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) and VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow on 16 February 2014
Sadly, just as a major exhibition of his work is about to open, it has been announced that Irish artist Patrick Scott has died (Friday 14 February 2014).
Patrick Scott (1921–2014) had been a defining figure of Irish art for over 70 years and the retrospective exhibition now opening is testament to his extraordinary career, life and achievements as an artist. In a statement, IMMA has said that he will be sorely missed by the arts community and that the gallery is honoured to pay tribute to one of Ireland’s most important artists with this major exhibition, on which the artist worked closely with the curator Christina Kennedy, head of collections at IMMA.
It is the wish of Patrick Scott’s partner, Eric Pearce and Mr Scott’s family that the exhibition at IMMA, ‘Patrick Scott: Image Space Light’, should proceed as planned, as a celebration of the artist’s life and work.
The exhibition is showing across two venues, IMMA and VISUAL. ‘Patrick Scott: Image Space Light’ brings together the most comprehensive representation of this remarkable artist’s 75-year-long career. Scott had his first exhibition in 1940 with the White Stag Group. The new exhibition brings together more than 140 pieces that illustrate the breadth and longevity of his career as an architect, designer and artist. The exhibition at IMMA concentrates on Scott’s early works from 1940–69 while VISUAL displays works from the 1960s to the present.
The Garden Galleries at IMMA are showing a broad range of Patrick Scott’s paintings from his early association with the White Stag Group in the 1940s when he rendered playful, deliberately naive birds, trees, railings and other forms in simplified settings. These were followed during the 1950s by linear, quasi-abstract works depicting boxes, still life, goal posts, cables, scaffolding, including a number of paintings with which the artist represented Ireland at the XXX Venice Biennale, such as the reductive forms of women bearing boxes and bunches of twigs on their heads.
Also included are the seminal ‘Bog Paintings’ evoking the waterlogged terrain of the bog and lakeshore. From there Scott moved to the‘Device’ works, a series of paintings in which the artist registered his dismay at the testing of H-bombs by painting abstract ‘explosions’ of diffused and dripped colour the symbolize the terrifying beauty of such destruction.
The IMMA exhibition also includes a selection of the early ‘Gold Paintings’ from 1964, arguably Scott’s best-known works; works related to ROSC ’67; as well as diverse material showing Scott’s production as a designer with Signa Design Consultancy during the 1950s and ’60s.
The second part of Scott’s career is presented in VISUAL, with a significant display of the artist’s tapestries woven at Aubusson, examples of the looped and tufted carpets that he produced with V’Soske Joyce, the Rainbow Rugs commissioned by Kilkenny Design, as well as rugs woven in Oaxaca. The large main space at VISUAL presents Kite!, a painting on linen six metres square, created in 1977 as an actual kite for the Kilkenny Arts Festival. It is accompanied by a select representation of the artist’s ‘Gold Paintings’, ranging from 1966 to 2007, examples of the diptych and folding screens and a number of the series of 11 ‘Tables for Meditation’ produced by the artist in 1990.
Also presented in VISUAL are various suites of work on paper, including a selection of the ‘Gestural Drawings’, a display of the Christmas Cards commissioned annually from the artist for 36 years by Scott Tallon Walker, and the recent ‘Meditations’, carborundum prints published by Stoney Road Press in Dublin.
Artist Corban Walker has been invited to guest-curate a selection of Patrick Scott’s works for the Link Gallery in VISUAL. Focusing on the theme of the grid in Scott’s work and responding to Scott’s graphic design work, Walker has also created a site-specific installation for the window area in the Link Gallery.
Born in 1921 in Kilbrittain, Co Cork, Patrick Scott trained as an architect. From 1945 he spent 15 years working with Michael Scott in the architectural practice of what became Scott Tallon Walker, where his innate talents as both an artist and designer developed together. He became a leading graphic designer with the Signa Design Consultancy (set up in 1953 by Michael Scott and Louis le Brocquy), all the while continuing to test various ideas in his painting. On winning a National Prize at the Guggenheim International Award in 1960 and representing Ireland at the XXX Venice Biennale in the same year, Scott became a full-time artist.
IMMA was delighted to accept the donation of two works from the artist before he died: a hitherto unknown work, Rosc Diptych, 1967, which has remained in the artist’s studio for the past 47 years and Meditation Painting, 2006, both are included in the exhibition.
The exhibition is curated by Christina Kennedy, Senior Curator: Head of Collections, IMMA.
A major publication, produced by IMMA, accompanies the exhibition and comprises a collection of insights from writers, artists, curators and collectors who were invited to ponder on aspects of Scott’s life and work. They are Mary Ann Bolger, Michael Craig-Martin, Barbara Dawson, Margaret Downes, Mel Gooding, Christina Kennedy, Roisín Kennedy, Des Lally, Peter Lamb, Padraic Moore, Brian O’Doherty, James O’Nolan, Stephen Pearce, Raymund Ryan, Ronald Tallon and Corban Walker.
A detailed timeline of Patrick Scott’s biography with images from selected archival material has been assembled and digitized and will be accessible online on data screens within the exhibition and through IMMA Collection Online on the IMMA website.
A full talks, lectures and events programme will take place at IMMA and VISUAL.
To celebrate the exhibition, IMMA has commissioned a limited edition print of Patrick Scott’s design for tapestry, Device 1971 (2013), which is available to purchase in both venues and online at www.theimmashop.com
The exhibition is supported by Irish Rail and Colour Trend.
Garden Galleries, IMMA,
16 February – 18 May 2014
Old Dublin Road
16 February – 12 May 2014
IMMA: €5.00 full price, €3.00 concession (senior citizens, unwaged), under 18s and those in full time education free.
VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art: Admission is free.