Andrew Kreps Gallery is pleased to present Instead of Being Lucky, Padraig Timoney’s second solo exhibition at the gallery. Born in Derry, Northern Ireland and currently based in Naples, Timoney engages a variety of platforms though his use of differing media and materials. For Instead of Being Lucky, Timoney will exhibit paintings, unique photographs, and sculpture.
The title Instead of Being Lucky references the time and place of the production of the works for the exhibition. The works in this show were made in the very same period of time the artist could have been trying to try to learn, rehearse and perform the role of Lucky in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, in a friend’s production in April in Naples. Rather than being thematically determined by the play, the works in the show are related to it in actual time, the ‘subject’ being its particular time of production and its own occasion.
Timoney has consistently presented formally diverse groups of work without an easily apparent visual bond. By approaching each work with a unique set of formal questions, he has sometimes given the illusion that one could be viewing a group show rather than a solo exhibition. Instead of Being Lucky presents several different “styles” or modes of painting that he has been revisiting and evolving throughout his career. The painting entitled Museum Metropolitan 2 takes for its source a display case with intricate carvings in blocks of mineral, such as jade and lapis lazuli, in the Chinese department of the Metropolitan Museum. Those elements are represented using pure pigments in a suspension of rabbit skin glue, which are applied to ink-washed raw cotton.
Guts Bog Hermes Star Factor is a multi-image painting consisting of images from an American Idol-style television program, a slaughterhouse, a bog landscape and the marble pavement of the cathedral in Siena; all of these images, each one captured in a different medium, are applied in layers on the canvas. The first image in acrylic is completely painted over by another in oil paint - and finally layered with photo developer. This last layer exercises a strange property of the developer and destroys the oil and allows the acrylic layer to be seen, thus producing an incomprehensible lattice of color and shape. Another painting using this process, entitled Day by Day (Circe’s Palace), finds a rectilinear and hard edge under-painting being confused with a labyrinthine decay of circular forms.
While the paintings themselves are produced by pushing the limits of the medium, they also reference the history of painting alongside the sculpture and photography that flesh out this exhibition. The work Shellfish for Seagulls is an informed, found object that brings the viewer to the classical story of the painting made by Zeuxis, the ancient Greek painter, which was a still life with grapes painted in a manner so life-like that birds tried to peck at the grapes. In this instance, urban seagulls have mistaken a tube of white oil paint for a mollusk, and have pecked it open to get at the interior. The photos which were taken in an old carpenter’s warehouse filled with wall-hanging furniture models are inevitably reminiscent of Duchamp’s painted studies of the Nude Descending A Staircase.
In the artist’s words: “In Waiting for Godot, Lucky has only one occasion to speak, and does so with a single-sentence monologue of increasing and oscillating scope, and arc of repetition, in a range of languages such as the childlike, the rhetorical, the senseless the academic and almost the personal sub-vocal. The categorical subjects in discourse are phantoms of leftover systems of thought, memory, geography, and geology, sport, fatalism, religion, and the unfinished sentence itself. And the unfinished nature of the work reveals the impossibility of summarizing or being able to make a grand unifying theory about the work, as well as the inexorable nature of reality, and its horrific lightness and evanescence that needs weighing down with something handily available, like ethics or social conscience, belief or a theoretical/idealistic model.”