These fragments I have shored against my ruins
14.12.2022 – 15.01.2023
tm•gallery, Helsinki, Finland
Cracks, crevices and cavities emerge in different forms in a new series of paintings by Irish artist Jane Hughes in her first solo exhibition at tm•gallery in Helsinki. The images suggest lunar craters, trace fossils, bacteria, bark, crusty lichen, rotting teeth, innards, and sticky cake frosting. Each painting has its lineage of stains, erasures, failures and resurrections. The surfaces are porous, with compositions dissolving and re-emerging.
The paintings are indebted to a mix of icy, mossy, rocky and wet environments. In particular, the wilds of the Aran Islands in the Atlantic; salty sea mist, glistening gooey seaweed, skeletons of dead sea creatures, deserted cliff edges, cracks of limestone slabs, ugly fat rats racing between the dark veins all encircled by the vastness of the sea. These textures and sensations weave in and out of the pictures combining paint, marble dust and sea salt. Similarly, the palette wanders through mint green rock pools, violet carrageen moss, velvety black horizons, and a rotting bronze whale carcass.
The feeling in such a setting is akin to what William Shatner remarked after his recent space travel. That rather than being in a state of awe, he felt a deep sense of grief, like a funeral for Earth. Hence, the title, ‘These fragments I have shored against my ruins’, borrowed from a poem by TS Eliot, The Waste Land (1922). Shored means to support something that would otherwise collapse. To preserve the fragments that remain from further decay.
The work has been kindly supported by the Finnish Cultural Foundation; The Embassy of Ireland, Finland; Áras Éanna, Inis Oírr, Aran Islands; Cill Rialaig, Co. Kerry; and the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Ireland.