Michael Canning: Matter, Motion, Minutes at Waterhouse & Dodd

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Waterhouse & Dodd are pleased to exhibit new works by the acclaimed Irish artist Michael Canning in September. This will be our 6th solo exhibition of Michael's work over an 11 year period. Each show has been marked by a subtle development. Jamie Anderson, director at Waterhouse & Dodd, notes: "Each new exhibition we mount brings a wider audience to Michael's work and his paintings have proved enduringly popular. I think people respond to the timelessness of the imagery and the beauty of the subject matter. The gallery becomes a rather contemplative space in the presence of his work." Each unique work by Michael Canning presents a sprawling landscape overlaid with wild plant species selected from the hedgerows of the artist's native Limerick. Although the landscapes themselves are not topographically accurate, the plant specimens are rendered with botanical precision having been painted from direct observation in Michael's studio in the West of Ireland. As such, the artist demonstrates the inheritance of Flemish and Netherlandish painting in both his precision and technical acuity. Nevertheless, Michael's work remains concerned with challenging traditional Northern European painting genres; enigmatic in their disregard for conventional categories, the works can be described as neither landscape nor still life. Moreover, pressing iconographical interpretations conventionally associated with plant forms - questions of growth, life, death and cyclical processes - here seem to avoid the more instinctive, lived quality of a body of work which belies academic analysis. Nicholas Usherwood has spoken of Canning's work being imbued with 'a strong sense of geography and history, memory and belief, poetry and metaphor', attributes which derive not only from the paintings' content but their method. Using oil paint and wax, Michael builds each work up in layers; a consuming process which seeks to emphasise the painting's existence as object as opposed to mere surface design. Canning takes a particular interest in beeswax for its varying degrees of opacity when combined with pigment. The work's surface thus achieves a glass-like appearance, enclosing within it a history of earlier drawings and fragments. Michael's method, at times methodical, retains a degree of intuition which often insists paintings sit for months or even years before being revisited and altered. The palimpsest which results is both a feat of technical mastery as well as a labour of love.

Venue Details & Map

Waterhouse & Dodd

Address
Albemarle Street
London
W1S 4JW
Telephone:
0207734 7800

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