Every couple of years Paul Doran exhibits at Green on Red Gallery for the standard month run, and then he’s gone: the artist is certainly not one for hogging the limelight. Even though the topography of his paintings hasn’t changed vastly over the last ten years that he’s been exhibiting at the Dublin gallery, the material means by which he expresses that topography has pushed the very limits of what can be recognised as painting, whilst still retaining the wall, frame and evidence of the painter’s hand in the miscellany of materials that he invites into his process – albeit not a whole lot of paint.

Doran’s new works currently displayed at Green on Red (all from 2013) are suggestive of beds that have been put through life’s wringer: their frames and mattresses a little worse for wear. Depending on a clockwise or anti-clockwise orientation through the gallery, my personal curtain raiser, Hut, is composed of raggedy swatches of granny pink and prussian blue fabric that are nailed to a wood panel by workaday panel pins. Up close, a collection of criss-cross splinters are the evidence of a once glued-on off-cut of plywood. Then, at the peripheral edge, pure apple green peeks from an overpainting of scuttery brown, suggesting that painting failed Doran in this expressive instance; the addition of fabric picking up the slack. Four roughly hewn pine battens make up a handmade frame (Doran humbly makes his own) that are speckled with paint: softwood is badly dressed up as its darker, transvestite cousin.

If Hut and its neighbour, Bed, convey the potential for sleep, then Sleep is the fantasy. The usual breaks on the surface and capricious minutiae that make Doran’s paintings so enjoyable are flattened by a semi-transparent, blue plastic folder, that sits on top of what is presumably a ‘Paul Doran’ underneath. It‘s the representation of a dreamt up painting; those paintings that are frustratingly out of arm’s reach in waking life for the obsessive whom paints whilst asleep.

The wonderfully evocative (of something or other) It’s not a secret, ironically evades telling. While Grey room describes itself, wherein irregular off-cuts of grey pinstripe fabric shuffle together like driftwood to almost form a solid grey platform – almost. However, jutting out from the gallery wall, Sky shelter offers the viewer a steady perch to shelve their thoughts, whereby a plywood shelf is painted in a half-square pattern of hot harlequin colours, with an equivalent perpendicular under-hang that has been over-painted to equate shadow: Let there be light – Doran is beating god to the punch.


Between the Maid and the Unmade


Green on Red Gallery, Dublin

29 August - 28 September, 2013



PAUL DORAN Hut (2013), wood, acrylic paint, fabric, panel pins, 20 x 30cm, courtesy of the artist and Green On Red Gallery. 

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