London-based Irish painter Conor Harrington recently exhibited eleven new fabulous paintings in Watch Your Palace Fall, a show put on by Pace London and HENI Publishing.
Conor Harrington Watch Your Palace Fall
“Watch Your Palace Fall,” new work by Conor Harrington, was on view from 15 September to 8 October 2016 at at 6-10 Lexington Street.
Gallery Press Release:
Harrington’s vivid work draws inspiration from classical painting, combining realistic brushstrokes with the raw energy of abstraction. Using large-scale canvas and city walls, Harrington’s scenes often depict dreamlike battles featuring military-inspired characters reminiscent of Renaissance imagery. The exhibition, presented in Soho, continues the artist’s exploration of themes related to the human body, conflicts and gender roles.
“These paintings are a nod to political deceit, the lies and half truths told to assume a role and gain power, the prevalence of social media selves at the expense of the real self and the graffiti alter ego, acquiring a pseudonym and hiding your true identity.” – Conor Harrington, August 2016.
The perpetual cycle of power chasing, and the struggle for dominance are further explored in Sluggers Paradise (2016), a large diptych featuring a tug of war and coloured to represent the classic blue and red of opposing political parties.
The larger than life characters drenched in fields of bright colours blend with traditional corners of a boxing ring while referencing North American gang culture at the same time. Harrington has become captivated with colour as a means of marking allegiance through nationalist elements including flags and uniforms.
Of the dyptich above Conor says “I had this idea for a while but I wasn’t sure if it was too obvious a metaphor or not. I actually really disliked this piece while it was in the studio and considered dropping it from the show a few months ago but when I viewed it in a larger space it made more sense. I’ve always been interested in how we use colour in identity, both personally and politically, and especially in US politics when every event and rally is drenched in these colours. It also reminds me of when I was 12 and watched Boyz N The Hood for the 20th time and tried to decide if I’d rather be in the Crips or the Bloods. The title is Slugger’s Paradise, a phrase used by (I think) Malachy Clerkin on the Second Captains podcast talking about the All Ireland Hurling Championship and two sides battling it out. Fuck Trump, stop the violence, up Cork” – @conorsaysboom
The golden mask, one of the recurring metaphors of Harrington’s visual language, enhances the narrative of the classical portrait becoming at times completely buffed in the assumption of an alter ego.
The exhibition coincides with the publication of the first major monograph of Harrington’s practice, Conor Harrington: Watch Your Palace Fall by HENI Publishing.
The monograph published 27 October 2016 by HENI Publishing, features more than 150 works by the artist, a new essay by curator Jane Neal and an informal Q&A between Harrington and journalist JJ O’Donoghue.
Buy it here