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DAMIEN FLOOD

'Flower Paintings'
Viewing Room

4th - 25th January 2022

 

ABOUT

Liminal Gallery is delighted to present ‘Flower Paintings’ an online solo exhibition by Damien Flood. As the title aptly suggests, the exhibition will feature a series of three flower paintings, however Flood’s paintings are never quite so simple. Flitting between figuration and abstraction, done and undone, the comprehensible and the unreadable, the painterly mark-making dances across the canvas’ leading the viewer onto a contemporary reinterpretation of a traditional subject. 

Scroll down to view the artworks and their accompanying texts.

For all purchase enquires please get in touch.

 
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DAMIEN FLOOD
DUSK FLOWERS
2021
OIL ON CANVAS
56 X 46CM
POA

DETAIL IMAGES OF 'DUSK FLOWERS'

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A thin glaze background where a deep blue softly blends into a rich burnt orange shows the beautiful transformation of the sky as day fades into night. “Dusk Flowers” is the final artwork of the exhibition, a beautifully sensitive piece with Floods ever present tinge of humour.

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Thick impasto flesh coloured flowers, as seen in the previous two works, confidently jut into the centre of the canvas. Loose energetic lines indicate the stalks in rich browns while flourishes of green indicate the leaves. The plant itself sits in a pot, the only immediate hint of domesticity in this scene.

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While this canvas immediately sings of the outside world, alongside the pot, there  is another very small hint that this in fact an interior landscape, which unites this work with the previous two. This comes in the form of a fly. While in ‘Maquette for Vase’, the first artwork released, the fly appears on its back apparently dead, the subtle fly in this work on the middle right of the canvas is very much alive and is shown resting vertically, hinting at a window. Zooming into the minute detail, you can even see small dirty marks on the window, only visible when studied at close quarters.

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While some blooms float buoyantly in the centre of the work, there is our first hint of suffering as the stems towards the bottom of the canvas succumb to gravity and wilt towards the floor. It reminds us of the flowers prone position, out of soil and their natural habitat, it evokes the imminent death suffered by any plant cut from the earth as an object of beauty.

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The subtlety of the background blend, masterly and flatly applied in a very controlled fashion by Flood stands in stark contrast to the flurry of impasto mark making to signify the flowers, stems, leaves and the fly. These energetic bursts are delicious in their application, breathing life into the canvas and giving the petals an almost palpable tremble of life. The application reminds us that these are living things, plucked for our admiration, but ultimately giving them a quick death before they have served their purpose. In the same way, the fly that is currently trapped inside the scene will soon end up like the fly on its back in ‘Maquette for Vase’.

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Bold deep blues unite all three of these small works, along with the artists attempts to capture the energy of natural life through energetic mark making. Inspired by Manet’s flower paintings, completed on his deathbed, Flood brings his own sense of humour to the paintings, subtly but a great source of joy for those that take the time to look a bit closer.

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DAMIEN FLOOD
LANDSCAPE WITH VASES
2021
OIL ON LINEN
56 X 46CM
POA

 

DETAIL IMAGES OF 'LANDSCAPE WITH VASES'

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‘Landscape with Vases’ is the second artwork in Damien Flood’s ‘Flower Paintings’. At first glance this piece appears to show a simple vase within a domestic interior. However the more time you spend with this painting the more abstract it becomes and with this, Floods confident command of oil paint proceeds into the foreground. Delving into the details is a delight, showing highly energetic gestural mark making with paint loosely applied onto the canvas bringing sumptuous textural qualities to the canvas.

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Coupled alongside is the loose glaze of the background, thin layers of pastel colours whereby the canvas weave can be seen through the pigment. The combination of thin layering and thick impasto create a three dimensionality to this piece, a nod to the artists sculptural work and his current interest in transferring this onto the 2D plain.

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This piece feels markedly more surreal, with objects floating and disjointed, in states of done and undone. The vase stands just off centre, with possibly a second empty vase standing in front of it, patiently waiting to be filled. The abundance of pastel flowers are flesh coloured and sit impasto on the canvas with flourished bursts of green indicating new leaves.

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A red disc sits to the bottom right which could equally be an ornament as it could a mushroom. The inside and outside have become melded together, intertwined as  nature emigrates into the domestic interior through it’s own design or by force.

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Further foliage lines the bottom of the canvas, yet the flat plains below and the backdrop behind the vase give the sense of an internal landscape. The shadow below the vase grounds us, giving a sense of place. The soft pastel background reminds of a Turner sky, where pinks and blues softly blend easing us into a relaxing state. The bold blue and red in the foreground creates a sharp contrast, jarring against the pastels creating an almost palpable vibrancy.

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Perched somewhere between realism, abstraction with a hint of surrealism, the landscape quickly turns to confuse the viewer, the more time one spends with this work the more it twists and turns. Flood plays with our perception giving us hints of what we know to be true while also making us question that truth. 

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DAMIEN FLOOD
MAQUETTE FOR VASE
2021
OIL ON CANVAS
42 X 36CM
POA

DETAIL IMAGES OF 'MAQUETTE FOR VASE'

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‘Maquette for Vase’ is the first artwork released for Damien Flood’s solo exhibition “Flower Paintings”. It features pink stems baring their soft blush pink blooms protruding from the many vivid blue openings of a vase. The blue mass anchors the bouquet, an ambiguous organic shape which makes the blooms seem all the more vivid, fleeting and light.

Young and healthy green leaves burst from the stems, they are almost animate in the way the brushstrokes have been energetically applied. The plants are seemingly happy in their new domestic home, or perhaps they were plucked in their prime, yet to realise their departure from their native soil.

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The vase looks earthenware, the thick impasto implies a rough unfinished surface. Yet it is ornate with floral motifs across its base. The impasto moments continue across the canvas, giving a sense of texture and three dimensionality. The colours are soft and delicate, earthy reminding one of nature. The work is a reminder of humanities daily plight to keep nature alive inside our domestic landscapes, away from everything they need to survive. The determination of trying to be a caregiver without giving the very matter the plant life requires to bloom and flourish. 

The vase sits on a green block at the bottom of the painting while a dead fly lies on his back grounding the viewer, giving a sense of space and gravity. The dead fly reminds us that while the plumage looks magnificent now, it too will die, turning brown and rotting without its natural habitat. It is inescapable to view a flower painting without being reminded of the cycle of nature. The cycle that we are all a part of as we sprout, grow, bloom, wilt and return to the soil.

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As the title implies, the work stems from the artists move into sculpture over the last three years, most recently forcing the 3D sculptures back onto the 2D picture plain. The title has a tinge of humour as Flood doesn’t create preliminary sketches or maquettes for any of his work – 2D or 3D. The past two years, with the pandemic, lockdowns and mass anxieties, have drawn Flood back to nature, both domestically and further afield which has contributed to an interest in the internal and external motifs displayed in this new body of work.

Flood’s new series of paintings are based on Manet’s flower paintings created on his deathbed as he died of syphilis. His exquisite paintings are surprisingly full of life, beautiful impasto mark making with energy which almost bursts off the canvas. Recreating the bouquets brought to him by well wishers, they are full of wonder and awe. His limited mobility for the last months of his life meant that he was only able to paint from life. The works are fragile but bountiful, there is a sense of urgency to these paintings, the artist was aware that he had no time for second guesses, they are a record of immediate observation.

Flood’s own works are inspired by these, vibrant and spontaneous, immediate but intricate, the flowers appear as virtuosic celebrations of a sensuous life coupled with the ever looming inevitable death.

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SOURCE MATERIAL: MANET'S FLOWER PAINTINGS

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PRESS RELEASE

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Liminal Gallery is delighted to present ‘Flower Paintings’ an online solo exhibition by Damien Flood. As the title aptly suggests, the exhibition will feature a series of three flower paintings, however Flood’s paintings are never quite so simple. Flitting between figuration and abstraction, done and undone, the comprehensible and the unreadable, the painterly mark-making dances across the canvas’ leading the viewer onto a contemporary reinterpretation of a traditional subject.

 

Flowers inevitably relate to life and death, the delicate plumage only serves to remind us of it’s demise. Deliciously thick globules of oil paint are tentatively plied to the canvas to create luscious landscapes. The pots which house the plant life ground the viewer, giving us a sense of gravity and space amongst the chaos or tranquillity. Colours are soft, pastels sit alongside each other in a pleasing combination, white other moments jar against each other, the disharmonious creating a subtle atmosphere.

 

‘Flower Paintings’ forms part of an ongoing series entitled 3 Works For 3 Weeks, an innovative take on the traditional solo exhibition promoting slow looking and true engagement with the artist, the artworks and the concepts behind them. Each exhibition in the series features 3 artworks alongside text, detail images and source material to give an intimate insight. The exhibitions run for just 3 weeks and all invited artists are either national or international, but all are currently working within the UK and Republic of Ireland, to show the breadth and diversity of art available across the countries.

 
Each Tuesday at 10am throughout the duration of the exhibition, Liminal Gallery will release a new artwork accompanied by text and detail images onto the dedicated Viewing Room found on www.liminal-gallery.com.

To purchase please get in touch with us info@liminal-gallery.com