Inevitability is part and parcel of everyday life, but when crises visit life’s forward trajectory the path towards inevitability is abbreviated. At Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, Eoin Mc Hugh presents in paint, watercolour, bronze, taxidermy and other paraphernalia, mutated hyper-psychological scenarios wherein inevitability is unavoidably eminent. The tone that is invoked is portentous: Something Wicked This Way Comes...

‘Augury’, the title of the exhibition, successfully reinstates the image with the purpose of signification, instead of the usually all pervasive poststructuralist word. It’s no small feat, considering the importance placed on artist statements and talks to communicate the visual component of their work via the verbal. overdetermined – which, at face value could describe Mc Hugh’s persnickety attention to detail – is a painting that illustrates the mythology of reading signs behind the exhibition’s namesake. An augur was a priest from the classical world who interpreted the flight and sound of birds as a form of divination. Auguries were also a favourite narrative element utilised by James Joyce in his sacrifice of comprehension for topsy-turvy verbosity. The painting itself proffers the collision of images and words and meaning by way of a dissimulation of birds that produce a decapitated, illegible sign of white flapping wings and black twig legs.

Individually, Mc Hugh’s sumptuous but overtly graphic imagery would look good on T-shirts, but the body of artworks combined at Douglas Hyde Gallery perform as a powerful allegory of mutating destiny. With this in mind the title of the painted portrait someone turning into someone else suggests that the child is changing (aging) before our very eyes: ultimate inevitability already set in motion. While the emotionally detached pair of downward gazes of a infant boy and orangutan as they both investigate a human head minus a skull cap in condensation is an allegory of birth, death and Darwinism, but also an omen of the affect of trauma on psychological evolution.


Dark, Dark



Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin

26 July – 11 September, 2013



EOIN MC HUGH, ‘Augury’, courtesy of the artist and Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin. with your dislocated reason, have cutely foretold … by the auspices of that raven cloud, your shade,

and by the auguries of rooks in parliament, death with every disaster... (James Joyce, Finnegans Wake, 1939)

Images, when correctly constructed, are not illustrations or examples but talismans and emblems,

ensigns of reality. (Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa Von Nettesheim, 16th Century)

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