BEYOND THE BUBBLE OF THE SANITISED URBAN WORLD
THE IMAGINED GARDEN, CLIFFORD COLLIE
Solomon Fine Art, Balfe St, Dublin
Clifford Collie’s work is quiet, nuanced and deft. Appropriately enough, the paintings in his Imagined Garden are predominantly green, though he has long been based in Spain, close to Zaragosa and not that far from the usually parched, semi-arid and non-green Monegros desert. He has noted that what we see in this exhibition follows on from the loss of his sister. The garden is partly a garden of the mind, an idealised space, and partly a space in memory, the garden of childhood. While they are mostly uninhabited, one of the paintings, I Can’t Imagine You Anywhere Else But Here, does include a distant, indistinct but definite figure.
Each work is an arrangement of greens, with just an occasional sprinkling of pinks, and each composition is layered, assembled from a judicious mix of tones and textures, creating openings and paths to accommodate eye and mind, allowing room for thought. A certain melancholy persists, understandably, but there is nothing maudlin or sentimental about the crispness of the paintings’ delivery.
Collie has, in a way, always concentrated on an indeterminate space. His painting was influenced early on by classical Dutch still life, technically superb works that celebrate vitality while confirming its inevitable transience. Gourds and other parched forms took on that role in paintings he made in Spain in the early 2000s. Now, in The Imagined Garden, there is a vegetative lushness, a luxuriance, and a muted though unmistakable radiance.
Until February 2nd