LONDON.- The Royal Academy of Arts
Artists Laboratory 05 will feature new work by Hughie ODonoghue RA. ODonoghues paintings are characterised by their exploration into the past and preoccupation with history, artefacts and mythology. The five works within this exhibition reflect the personal experiences of ODonoghues father, Daniel ODonoghue, during the Second World War and they came about as a consequence of sorting out his fathers personal effects after his death. ODonoghue creates a narrative within his art, seeking to remember events that he did not witness himself, and in doing so highlights the unreliability of personal memory.
The central work of the exhibition is Road, a painting in thirty-six panels that follows the journey of Daniel ODonoghue during his time in the military in the Second World War. Part painting and part sculpture, ODonoghue has used words, photographic images and pages of an old book to create a diary and chronological remembering of Daniels experiences. ODonoghue has appropriated photographs that belonged to his father, images from the Imperial War Museum, as well as his own photographs taken when revisiting places where his father spent time in the war. ODonoghue says, It is a process of re-membering rather than memory. There is a process of delving going on, an archaeological dig conducted in the medium of oil paint.
Four other large scale works by ODonoghue will be shown in the exhibition, including Crossing the Rapido 111, which is almost seven metres long. This measurement relates to the narrowest width and depth of the Rapido River near Cassino, Italy, during the harrowing crossing by the US 36th Infantry Division in 1944. The work has been made with water and graphite dust, sitting in a steel frame.
A selection of artefacts that ODonoghue has drawn inspiration from will also be displayed in the exhibition. The few fragments of the story that survive include old letters written by Daniel to his brother and wife, photographs of his fellow soldiers, as well as his camera together with the camera film. ODonoghue says, Paintings cannot be explained, only experienced.. Nevertheless, understanding a context in which painting has been made can promote empathy and I am happy to encourage that.
Hughie ODonoghue was born in England but lived and worked for many years in Kilkenny, Ireland. Graduating from Goldsmiths in 1982, he was Artist in Residence at the National Gallery, London from 1984-85. ODonoghues work is characterised by an engagement with the past. He uses figuration and abstraction to explore themes of human identity, memory and experience; and draws on history, mythology and personal records to create works which resonate with emotional intensity.
Some works in the exhibition will be for sale.