Master and motif

Comhghall Casey is a keeper of ordinary things made extraordinary through his art, writes Isabella Evangelisti ahead of his exhibition at Solomon Fine Art this autumn

A loaf of bread, a toy tractor, a teddy bear. The stuff of daily life, and also the subjects of Comhghall Casey’s exquisite little paintings, to be shown in his forthcoming exhibition at the Solomon gallery. Casey paints ordinary objects; toys that he has kept with him since childhood, random stuff collected over the years or given by friends, as well as found natural objects like stones and shells. All chosen for their formal or aesthetic qualities, for their associative meanings or just because they happen to hold an appeal for the artist at a given time. Whether painted individually or grouped together in simple rows or clusters, each object is isolated against a plain background and a continuous horizon. Devoid of narrative contexts which might over-sentimentalise the subjects, the artist fixes his gaze determinedly and skilfully, resulting in a staggering verisimilitude. Paradoxically, in giving such focus and distillation to humble objects, it causes them to occupy the pictorial space, both physically and emotionally, in a way that belies their apparent banality. Their presence and potency is thereby increased, their status transformed; thus elevated, each object becomes a motif.

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