Paul Nugent's position at the forefront of contemporary Irish art is reflected in the strong reaction to his work in last year's group exhibition at the Centre Culturel Irlandais, En direct de Dublin. This solo exhibition is devoted to new works from the artist's Eternal and Intercession series which build on his previous Franciscan (2002), Carmelite (2000) and Cardinal (1998) series.
The artist's work is interesting not least for his singular choice of religious subjects but also for his intriguing creative process - first photographing the subject, painting an image of the photograph and then painting over it. Many of Nugent's works initially appear monochrome which is then belied by the emergence of 'ghostly' underlying figures; this subtle dichotomy is achieved through the meticulous layering of pigment and glazes which equally gives each work its specific tone and authenticity.
The points of departure for the both the Eternal and Intercession series are devotional statues such as Saint Joseph and the Madonna and Child. The paintings are references to the lives of saints whose stories have been perpetually presented and represented throughout art history. The obscured presence of the subjects, iconic Christian symbols, could suggest the slow erosion of their meaning in contemporary society. Nugent's paintings are made slowly and contemplatively, as they are intended to be seen.
Born in Dublin in 1964, Paul Nugent studied at the National College of Art and Design. His work is included in the collection of the Irish Museum of Modern Art and has been exhibited in many international exhibitions.