Maurice Desmond, New Work
25th April – 11th May
The Lavit Gallery is delighted to showcase a selection of new work, from Cork based artist, Maurice Desmond.
Maurice Desmond is much possessed by a sense of the tragic. His last show Flanders Fields in 2012 consisted of a series of brooding and evocative paintings that captured the atmosphere of that doom-laden place. These were deathscapes rather than landscapes. In this new show he continues to engage with the bleaker aspects of human existence. The skies are still eerie and troubled, the earth is still reddened with redundance of blood. These are landscapes without a hint of the pastoral – they pulse with their dark and entombed memories. But Desmond has always believed that the saddest songs are the sweetest and that we find, as Nietzsche asserted, “metaphysical solace” in art and music through the contemplation of the tragic. We find this catharsis in Greek Tragedy, in the music of Mahler, and in Shakespeare’s King Lear. You might think recent work inspired by a visit to the haven of Gougane Barra would bring some harmony and solace to his vision. However what these new works indicate at best is the monumental implacability of nature – the stony indifference of the universe. While Desmond is now somewhat of an outsider on the art scene, he continues to create work that will endure beyond the current fads and fashions. – John P. O’ Sullivan
Maurice Desmond was born in Co. Louth and studied at the Limerick School of Art. He exhibited regularly at the Oireachtas shows and the Irish Exhibition of Living Art, where he won a first prize in 1969. Two decades later, he had three solo shows at the Triskel Arts Centre in Cork in the 1980s. From early years painting nudes from his time on Sherkin Island and waterfalls in Monard Glen, over the years the palette has darkened and the subject matter has been refined to minute variations on a single theme. Critics have described his work as having a brooding presence and a classical feel.
He has participated in a vast number of group shows both nationally and internationally and solo shows in the Hallward Gallery in Dublin and the Vanguard in Cork. His work is included in major Irish collections including the Crawford Art Gallery, the University of Limerick, the Arts Council, the collection University College Cork and AIB collections.