Green on Red Gallery


An idea for something better
Paul Doran

  • 08 Mar - 14 Apr 2012

Green On Red Gallery is delighted to welcome Paul Doran’s exhibition of new paintings to the gallery with a body of new work that both defies and surpasses expectations. The complex and varied nature of these dense paintings is remarkable and engaging. For an artist considered one of the country’s leading exponents of the medium, the virtual absence of oil on canvas in the exhibition is noteworthy and exciting.

Doran’s aim has long since been to make the moment of engagement between the work and its beholder fresh and open-ended. This has never been more successfully achieved than in this new body of work. Here, the hand-made, raw, immediate, modest and honest character of these book-size paintings show the artist more prepared than ever both to discard with convention, to break with his own past as a thorough-going and consummate painter of oil on canvas and to plough new rich soil using what can seem like brutal means. With each of the 13 works in the exhibition, a startling variety of means and materials is used. The degree to which each work is a departure from its neighbour keeps the visitor on high alert. But for all their apparent crudeness there is an undeniable formal strength and a web of complex ideas in these paintings, some of which are reworked, recycled or reversed.

While affinities with the self-doubting working method of artists like Cézanne and Guston have been cited not unreasonably in the past in discussions about Doran’s work, there are links evident here also to the hermetic practice of Texan artist and recluse Forest Bess. Whether it is in the unfinished look of these works or the awkward arrangement of elements, the result is the same. Each work is alive with unknowns, inconsistencies, statements and counter-statements. It should be said that it is also a method totally in keeping with the open-ended, questioning and radical practice of many artists today where the very process of construction remains incomplete or inconclusive or even contradictory. Hence a more active and involved process of viewing.

Physically, paintings like Build it like a Cézanne, Secret or An idea for something better consist of scraps left-over and/or carefully reconstituted. Embedded in each of these works on closer inspection and with a degree of patient observation on the part of the viewer is a refined logic and visual order in the inscribed and stapled or glued elements. Not to be thrown by the appearance of lowly, domestic even personal attachments, we recognise the transformative power of these works not despite the presence of thumb tacks, lollipop sticks, cotton or synthetic strips but because of them. The everyday, the incidental, the domestic is every bit as urgent and critical as the more rarefied realm of drawing and painting. There is nothing casual or ordinary about these compact paintings. This is Doran possibly at his most insistent, highly charged and brutally honest back, perhaps, to where he began.

The sheer enjoyment elicited from learning the composition, the dramatic changes of medium, the arrangements of colour and line in works like Night Bird and Cloud is engrossing. This is an exhibition to be relished and thought about long after the first encounter.

The next exhibition at Green On Red Gallery is a solo exhibition of new work by Mark Joyce, opening on 19 April. For further information please contact Jerome O Drisceoil or Mary Caffrey at T: +353 16713414 or E:



  • For more information or purchase enquiries contact the gallery.

More Information

  • For more information or purchase enquiries contact the gallery.
  • Build it like a Cezanne (2011)
  • Wood, gesso, acrylic paint, oil pastel, fabric, staples, linen, 22 x 42.9cm
Build it like a Cezanne (2011)
First Drawing (2009)
Cloud (2012)
Transformer (2011)
An idea for something better (2010)
Secret (2011)
Nine plus thirty seven (2012)
Armchair (2012)
Conversation (2012)

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