A Filtered Landscape

Rothwell Gallery
Church Street, Athlone

15 September - 20 October 1999

Gallery Press Release

Exhibition Opening

The Ballinasloe based artist, Padraig Naughton, who has earned quite a reputation for himself both at home and abroad is currently having a solo exhibition of his work at the Rothwell Gallery, Church Street, Athlone. Artistically Padraig works in two fields: ceramics and charcoal drawings. This exhibition confines itself to recent work in charcoal on coloured paper. A spokesperson for the Gallery stated that they were delighted to present a selection of Padraig's most recent work to an Athlone audience. "This exhibition draws on his travels in the Italian and Swiss Alps as well as his observation of his local environment to explore the qualities of light in these vastly different landscapes".

Padraig Naughton is a graduate of N.C.A.D. Dublin. He also studied drawing in Florence. Following his graduation he worked as artist in residence and teacher at the Richard Attenhorough Centre, in the University of Leicester from 1994-96. In 1998 he completed a Post Graduate Certificate in Education Art & Design (secondary teaching) at Bretton Hall College of the University of Leeds. In June of this year Padraig visited the Scottish Highlands as part of the Celtic Links project and while there he led a series of workshops in drawing and touch sculpture. This Scottish trip and the forthcoming expansion of his studio to include a new ceramics facility has been made possible through grants from the Mid-Roscommon Leader 11 fund.

The exhibition was opened on Wednesday by Maureen Gilbert, Head of Independent Living with N.R.B. Maureen first became familiar with Padraig's work through the highly successful 'Celebrating Difference' exhibition for she was a member of the selection committee. Over the past few years she has followed his career and was delighted to travel to Athlone to open the exhibition.

This exhibition entitled 'A Filtered Landscape' consists of 40 charcoal drawings on coloured paper. In his artists statement on the exhibition programme Padraig claims that his preferred drawing medium is charcoal. He explained his technique "I like to use a coloured paper which 1 cover with layers of charcoal then using a putty rubber 1 begin rubbing back the charcoal to reveal the highlights in the landscape which 1 am trying to describe. Sometimes, 1 use cotton wool to apply a light dusting of powdered charcoal, this allows me to achieve softer gradation in tones. The use of coloured papers is very much influenced by my experimentation with photographic filters - so 1 suppose 'A Filtered Landscape' was an obvious choice of a title for this exhibition".

The exhibition continues at The Rothwell Gallery, 33 Church Street, Athlone until 20th October and is open daily Monday to Saturday.

Maureen Gilbert & Pádraig Naughton

Guest spaeker Maureen Gilbert & Pádraig Naughton

Comments by Maureen Gilbert

Padraig Naughton is an artist with a particular and deeply intriguing vision. His charcoal landscapes draw the viewer into a world of quiet intensity and calm solitude, in which the spaces between the features of the landscapes he describes are as important as the hills or lakes themselves. There is a sculptural quality to the pictures - hardly surprising, perhaps, given that Padraig Naughton is a renowned sculptor in ceramics - but in this context the effect is of an almost architectural view of sculpture.

The pictures are a tribute to the mystery of an individual vision. Padraig Naughton says he is intrigued that he sees landscape mainly in one colour and he communicates that sense of fascination by drawing the viewer into a world of half light and deep shade, in which mountains loom out of the mist and lakes stretch on, unruffled, seemingly forever.

Yet these are no tourist board cliches. We all see everything in a way that is unique to ourselves and none of us can be at all sure what another person is really seeing. Most of us struggle to describe even a glimpse of what we see, but in these pictures Padraig Naughton draws us into a whole world of uncluttered strong images, almost photographic in their clarity and almost mystical in their intensity. The viewer is led on through the pictures - what lies round the next bend in the river, what is concealed by the mist? - into a whole new way of seeing, like the revelation of a contemplation at dusk that puts a calm perspective on everything and makes it alright to face another day. The features are grand in scale - there are mountains and clouds that seem almost more Tibetan than Celtic - but the feeling is benign and sometimes almost protective. Padraig Naughton's world shows what is essential, stripping away the fuss of unnnecessary detail to concentrate on the essence. Mountains, water, sky, clouds - the vision is elemental and direct. In this way Padraig Naughton is able to communicate with anyone who has the sense to listen, for this view is vital in a world that too often forgets how to stand and stare. The viewer leaves these pictures seing differently than before and thankful for the experience.

Maureen Gilbert

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