Orange Device and Flame Device come from the ‘Device’ series which Patrick Scott worked on from 1961-63, and the latter painting is currently on loan to IMMA and VISUAL Carlow for the Scott Retrospective
The Doyle Collection hotel group is home to many fine examples of Irish art including a number of works by the late Patrick Scott (1921-2014). These Scott pieces include two large paintings called Orange Device and Flame Device. They can usually be seen in The Westbury Hotel, Dublin, but currently the latter is on loan to IMMA and VISUAL Carlow for the long-awaited Patrick Scott Retrospective.
Born in Kilbrittain, Co Cork in 1921, Patrick Scott studied Architecture at University College Dublin from 1939 and worked for the Dublin-based architectural practice Scott Tallon Walker from 1945 to 1960. While still in college he became involved with the White Stag Group and began exhibiting with them in 1941. For many years he combined his work as an architect with painting, before making the decision to become a full-time artist following his success at the Venice Biennale in 1960.
The Doyle Collection’s Orange Device and Flame Device are both paintings on unprimed canvas and come from the ‘Device’ series which Scott worked on from 1961-63. These works emerge from a particularly fertile phase in Scott’s career. The ‘Device’ series mark a notable departure from his earlier work which consisted of formally divided landscapes depicting imaginary birds and simplified compositions painted with thin layers of transparent pigment. A concurrent body of work with the Device paintings was inspired by the bogs of the Midlands and both of these series were executed in tempera on unprimed canvas which came to characterize Scott’s practice throughout his life.
Christine Kennedy, Head of Collections and curator of the Patrick Scott Retrospective at IMMA recently described the Device works as ‘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 to symbolize the terrifying beauty of such destruction.’ She went on to say ‘I wouldn’t call them protest works but at the same time they are making a statement, creating an awareness. They would have been very distinctive and unique in Irish art terms of the period.’ Other paintings from the Device series were acquired by the Ulster Museum, the Hugh Lane Gallery and by Joseph H Hirshhorn for the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden at the Smithsonian Institution.
Patrick Scott died at home in Dublin on 14 February 2014, the eve of the opening of his retrospective exhibition at IMMA.
Acknowledgement: The author would like to thank Tara Murphy at Solomon Fine Art, Dublin.