Paintings 1990-93
'A contemplative atmosphere pervades Sarah Iremonger's first wholly abstract exhibition (currently) on show at the Triskel Arts Centre in Cork. In the darkened main gallery, seven large canvases fill the large space lit by dimmed spotlights. The quiet mood is amplified by the calm expanses of rich resonant colour in the paintings.
This work explores space, light and colour in vertical panels of reds, blues and greens exploiting the luminosity of oil paint and the texture of the canvas. Strength in this work derives from the interplay of presence and absence: with colour creating a meaningful presence and the lack of articulated subject a wonderful absence.
Architectural spaces are the starting point of these compositions. This was perhaps clearer in her earlier work where oblique architectural references served to illuminate but distract the viewer. In this show of work completed since last autumn, this suggestive but restricting figuration is gone and the work feels released: so does the viewer.
Mood changes rely solely on the arrangement of colour and the varying vertical divisions of the flat canvas. Small changes can make a big difference. The latest pieces with only three panels of colour create the strongest sense of expanse and absence while the small acrylic works on paper with stripes and horizontal lines, incredibly appear almost busy.
Colour, which dominates the exhibition, is achieved by layering one pure colour over another rather than mixing them on a palette. Rhythmic brushwork, though barely perceptible, creates rich texture in the broad panels of velvety, inky colours. Interestingly in the smaller works on canvas, colour is built up in the same way, and behaves quite differently giving a flatter, more sombre effect.
This accomplished work by a young artist may be seen at Triskel until August 28th.'
Review in The Irish Times by Hilary O'Kelly, 19th August 1993.