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Stephen Dunne - Uchronia


15 Ely Place, Dublin 2, D02 A213

14th February 2019 to 10th March 2019

Process to the left of me, paintings to the right. Here I am, stuck in ambivalence with you, Stephen. In an attempt at avoidance of import, Stephen Dunne plays with his subconscious and doesn’t mind if you watch. Perhaps because there’s nothing terribly personal or revealing going on.

In discussion with James Merrigan, he pokes fun at the idea of the romanticised ‘painting’ and smirks in his explication of mundanity of one of the few, relieving, visceral pieces. In his avoidance of the notion of the artist’s ‘self’, preferring the notion of ‘fluidity’, he joys in the risk-averse pieces he displays. His pieces, collected from past notions and current impulses should, he says, come with the caveat of ‘no truth here’. Quiet utterances and vague pleas fill the walls and in its clutter the paintings proper offer some respite.

This painting, the tumbling neurological network, or so I had interpreted, was rather an exercise in chance. This assemblage of waste paint, applied daily in orbs of fallacy to the surface, this web of interconnected dots, forming penetrating layers were without intent. In resisting profundity he exercises a sadistic mirage. I found meaning in his nothingness.

Foregoing the joke upon my ego, resting more comfortably in my ability to find in his manic meaninglessness a semblance of the sublime, the immediacy of the excitation and explosion of his playtime does in parts make fascinating voyeurism.

He offers our egos an escape route. There is, he admits a likelihood of Freudian ‘dream fragments’ emerging from the impulsive sketches. He paints without conscious intent but something latent probably fills the void. It is specifically the voids I am most interested in with this exhibition. The layered storm in his clouds are echoed in his figurative paper works, the mouths gape in an almost vulnerable recognition of their exhibitionism. In being applied to a visual form and shared outside the sanctity of a protective psyche, they present themselves aghast at their humiliation in front of their voyeuristic signifiers.

It is a practice in the signifier/signified relationship. The ‘dialectic’ he emphasises is something he is very aware of and unfortunately for him, unavoidable. There’s nothing wrong with subduing the import of trauma yet trauma is such a seductive subject matter that is difficult to negate in desire. I wanted to empathise with his trauma or exalt his wit yet I didn’t find a reference point. As he glibly suggests in discussion of his exhibition, akin to the disjointed facebook feeds we find ourselves absorbing, ‘maybe the next exhibition will have cats’.

Written by Aisling Mooney

Aisling Mooney is an entrepreneur, writer, artist and dealer in Dublin. She is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin with a BA in the History of Art/Architecture, World Religions & Theology and an MPhil in Psychoanalytic Studies.

Writer links: Website

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