Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Drawing in colour 3 The drawings of Patrick Hall

Patrick Hall: Rainbow

Stones and weather and eyes and clouds, things of an elemental nature are all to be found in Patrick Hall's drawings. There is a wonderful catalogue of his drawings taken from a show at the Irish Museum of Modern Art that is in the university library and it is well worth a close study. My feeling is that his drawings bear comparison with those of Ken Kiff another artist that drew in colour and who has sometimes been written off as a fantasist, but who I would see as a psychological realist. 
Hall works from dreams or poetry and his work could be seen as a type of mystical response to contemporary life. However, perhaps because I have used several of the themes that crop up in his work in my own, I would like to think that his work is more grounded in reality than you might think on first observation.  (I'm still trying to unpick my comments about originality from my last post, and will revisit the ideas surrounding originality again, as I think its one of those awkward issues that relates to value and in a consumer society originality and value get mixed up)

The protecting wings II

It rains in Spain 

The image above is about rain. It's about the solid reality of clouds and our insignificance in the face of weather. Clouds can be like rocks, they are simply things of a different timeframe, but of a similar objectless. Ink and chalk and washes are similar to clouds. They may or may not be a sign of something. A grey cloud might mean imminent rain, or it might mean just a grey day.  Material thinking is embedded in objectness, and my recent post on object orientated ontology has perhaps flagged up for some of you the fact that I'm interested in the impossible possibilities of thinking from non human points of view. I like to ask questions that have no answers in words, such as "Can a drawing think?" If so how does it think? In some of Hall's drawings I can glimpse answers. The materials are moving about, small ink circles perhaps becoming rain drops collecting in the top strata of a fast emptying cloud, lines of verticality become rain drops now running down a window, the earth a bendy horizontal browning and edging itself in black that touches a dirty yellow atmosphere. The tiny figures of post-human presences are barely there, they stand beneath the cloud, they endure but are no longer a force, simply a series of small insignificant moments in comparison with the footstep of the cloud, a grey stamp that splashes through the yellow swirl, flattening the sky and dampening the spirits of those few who turned out to witness the fact. 
The language of marks made as water swirls and colours coagulate and separate out is both alchemic and geologic. A syntax is revealed that is as much organic as inorganic, as much a language for humans as for a weather system. The tiny stick figures in these images  so insignificant that they have no function beyond that of reminders as to the scale of elemental processes and to bear some sort of witness to forces far beyond their capacity to understand or to have any agency in relation to the shaping of events. 

Link to these earlier posts on drawing in colour
Drawing in colour
Drawing in colour part two

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