Dog Years

17 June to 16 July 2006 V22 Dalston

New works by Eoin Donelly and Alex Robbins 

“…Robbins explores different ways of confronting the propriety of a material with the identity of an object. InSceptre(2005), a rope-like implement made from scrap copper cable, the associations of the work’s title are skewed by an elegantly primitive construction, making the object more like the incantatory device of some freelance urban shaman than an item of monarchic pomp. Closer examination reveals it to be a sort of portmanteau object: one end is clearly a noose, while the other resembles a loo brush. The copper is not used to imply a symbolic ‘conducting of spiritual energy’, but rather mediates bathetically between two contrasting functions: execution and cleaning a toilet. The tool of a genuine multi-tasker, then. But this rhetoric of function is built ‘from the ground up’ (as Robbins puts it) rather than by using that more traditional format of the composite object, the assisted readymade: the unlikely conjoining of objects has been ‘discovered’ empirically in the material itself rather than established at the outset and merely executed.

Despite their more schematic appearance, a similarly organic empiricism pervades Eoin Donnelly’s paintings, which deploy symbolic language while holding allegory at bay––sometimes by undermining the specificity of a given motif with the use of divergent pictorial values. This latter tendency is most explicit inMammoth(2006), in which the outline of the prehistoric mammal has been cut out of board. Within this mammoth-shaped ‘canvas’ we see an area of landscape where, logically, the animal’s body should continue; the bristles of its back are readable as a grassy horizon, the shaped canvas being used to create a figure-ground ambiguity. In the more enigmatic The Thought Unthunk (2006), two Aztec-style pyramids float one above the other against a Rothko-esque background. The lower pyramid, constructed of stone, contains a furnace whose convection, it seems, enables the upper (wooden) one to levitate. This gauche conjuring trick is glossed by the title, whose vernacular participle suggests that the ‘thought’––and by implication the ‘subject’ of the painting––has not yet come to pass, the initially literal teleology of the two elements being denied by a negational proposition….”

Sean Ashton -02 June 2006

Extract from Exhibition Text

Venue info

V22 Dalston

10–16 Ashwin Street
E8 3DL

Overground: Dalston Junction, Dalston Kingsland
Bus: 30, 38, 56, 67, 76, 149, 236, 242, 243, 277