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Owen de Forge

May 25, 2023 @ 12:00 pm June 9, 2023 @ 6:00 pm

Will we go look for a mole hole?

Owen de Forge, curated by Sara Muthi

The Dean Artist Studios, Chatham Row, Dublin 2

Preview 25 May 2023 6pm

26 May – 9 June 2023 12pm – 6pm

Owen de Forge stages his first solo exhibition in Dublin at The Dean Arts Studios.

This new collection of paintings are eagerly optimistic.

Daily life in Ireland, the artist himself and his friends are the subject matter,

keeping in line with de Forge’s work to date.

This work represents many ideals.

Ideals of what a social life should be; full of colourful, consistent, characters, playing and swinging in nature.

Ideals of what an artist should be doing; absorbing their environment, and the world as they see it, and relaying it out to an audience through thoughtful forms, gestures and images.

The figures, while largely faceless to us, are known by the artist intimately.

The work is joyful, reminding us of our best days.

de Forge has no interest in disheartening an audience who certainly has enough to worry about.

Through the conveyance of these images we are offered a glance into the lives of some of these young characters.

And yet, there is a parallel reality pressing on the lives of the swimming bodies and laughing faces. Life’s not all fun and games, despite this being the content of the work.

Dreamy days are dampened by the precarious circumstances all twenty-somethings face. When Ireland and its inhabitants are the subject matter of your work, instability and anxiety are inevitable. The paintings are an approximation of the artist’s memories, and yet scenes of insecurity and uncertainty are not depicted. This reality is not ignored however. It lives between the lively figures and lush green gardens, expressed in the moments where realism meets impulsive gestures. Hints of fantasy are delicately thread throughout realist compositions, rewarding the diligent viewer. Furthermore, the scenes de Forge sets highlight the necessity of public places as essential spaces for care and escape; giving us a glimpse into the wonder that can be found in our closest natural environments. He champions gardens, forests and lakes as necessary spaces in which to gather and flee from the drudgery of the everyday trials and tribulations. These familiar and conventional scenes are cut in unconventional ways. The irregular and gestural sculpted forms enhance the subtle taste of otherworldliness present in this work.

The exclusivity of ‘high art’ has no place in this body of work, providing an accessible lead into the life of the artist. de Forge’s intention is to make people happy through happy paintings while acknowledging an underlying anxiety of this age range. The work is realised if viewers see themselves in the work and feel seen in return.

This exhibition is kindly funded by The Arts Council Ireland Visual Arts Bursary 2022.

Explore Owen’s work at owen de forge – ABOUT (myportfolio.com)