Ronan Goti

Preview: 6-8pm Thursday 7 September. Continues until Saturday 16 September 2006.

Ronan Goti’s third solo-exhibition ‘With Nature’ was launched at 6pm on Thursday 7 September; continuing until Saturday 16 September.
Live coverage of exhibition reception featured on RTE One's 'Capital D' Thursday 14 September.

Ronan Goti has experienced a significant measure of success during his comparatively short career. First achieving recognition as an accomplished seascape painter, most notably for his depictions of young girls playing on Dublin's shorelines, landscape and nature scenes have become increasingly prominent in the artists oeuvre. Although not rigidly naturalistic in his approach, his subjects are familiar and instantly decipherable; but because of the artistic and aesthetic filters set in place, they also seem remote, emanating a sense of solitude and, at times, pathos. This foggy sense of malaise is understandable when many of the images, particularly those featuring his characteristic young girls, appear to symbolise a requiem for youth.

Soft, seamless brushwork, careful draftsmanship, and pastel hues created by subdued filtered light are the essential traits of Ronan's understated, reflective scenes of nature. Landscapes exhibit a serene sensibility: The monumental solidity of the ocean, expansive skies and iridescent effects of precipitating light. Nature is never harsh or austere. When waves swell toward the viewer, Ronan avoids the representation of climactic breakers, as even his most dramatic seascapes are characterized by tranquil composure.

Yet it would be a mistake to ascribe this as an attempt to create passive images. Although he is determined to adopt this taming process, his canvases retain an urgency, their sense of being an excited dispatch from remote places. In many of his paintings, he is striving to express the same idea; a balance between serenity and turmoil, permanence and flux. The dualities of these emotions inherent in Ronan's work stimulate not just a feeling of calm and meditation, but of emancipation and renaissance.

 The inimitability of Ronan’s technique is unexpectedly complex in ways not instantly apparent. Executing an average of ten works per annum is testament of his incredible attention to detail and fastidiousness as each piece demonstrates his acute awareness and acknowledgement of the importance of drawing and control of tone. His paintings are defined by a certain opalescent effect created by building up thin layers of pigment. A closer view reduces figural representation into intricate arrangements of colour. This has evolved through using photographs as source material in a quest for objectivity, though not in a narrow photographic sense, rather in the sense of communicating the sensual reality of the place. So convincing are these images that it is tempting to conclude that we are being offered direct access to the scene. This is illusory, of course; There is a deeper reason, which only becomes evident in conversation with him. Repeatedly, he speaks of the awe that nature inspires in him; whenever he is praised for achieving certain effects, he shifts the conversation back to the physical place he was privileged to witness, the light, the behaviour of seawater and so on. This is more than a statement of personal faith; it is a questioning of the notion that artists can create new realities.

In judging his achievements so humbly, Ronan underestimates his own interpretative gifts. His best paintings are much more than echoes of a superior natural reality; they are highly personal, and powerful in a different way from the phenomena that inspired them. It is this tension between the worshipful reluctance to falsify and the artistic instinct to create freely, that makes Ronan's art so interesting. In this continually evolving series of work, much excitement remains to see where he will take us next.

- Antoinette Sinclair, Curator

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Paintings in the exhibition