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Patrick Scott: meditations

Patrick Scott, Diptych (detail), n.d. Collection Crawford Art Gallery, Cork. © the artist’s estate.

2 October – 5 December

This year is the centenary of Patrick Scott (1921-2014), one of Ireland's most celebrated and individual abstract artists.

Scott, who was born in Kilbrittain, County Cork on 24 January 1921, had his first exhibition when he was aged just 23 and, early on, was associated with the White Stag Group and the Irish Exhibition of Living Art (IELA). His paintings from this period embraced a naïve style but, having spent fifteen years working as an architect, his later compositions often incorporated geometry and impeccable design.

Scott would only become a full-time artist in 1960, the year in which he represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale, and so this exhibition charts aspects of his career from that time onwards. Although ostensibly abstract, the works displayed in this exhibition range from the painterly landscape Under the Pier (c.1959) to Scott's nuclear protest 'Device' painting Diptych and his signature 'Gold Paintings' that reveal an interest in Zen Buddhism.

"At each new turn," art critic Dorothy Walker once noted, "he has shown us new discoveries, all within his orbit of strict abstraction." Artist and friend Brian O'Doherty goes further, considering that "Scott's landscapes tremble on the edge of non-recognition, and then go over. His circles – sun, cell, seed, blot – always elevated to the top half of the canvas over an horizon line, said that your associations are your own, but insisted that I am just a picture. As he went on to his mature gold and unprimed canvases, this insistence became as much part of the painting as the paint."

In presenting five works from the collection, this exhibition does not attempt a complete retrospective of Scott's oeuvre but rather offers meditations from five different decades of his long career.

Curated by Michael Waldron

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