Eamon O'Kane - THE IDEAL STUDY HOUSE, 5 November - 11 December 2004

'The Ideal Studio House' is the first solo show at Galerie Mikael Andersen by the Irish artist Eamon O'Kanes (b. 1974). The works in the show, new large scale oil paintings of landscapes and interiors, have been created during his recent residency at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin. The primary focus of O'Kane's practice is two-dimensional image-making, both still and moving, using painting, photography and video.

 

In The Ideal Studio O'Kane presents buildings set in isolated forests away from human influence as ideal spaces for artistic contemplation. Taking references from some of the world's leading contemporary architects such as Helmut Jahn, Michael Jantzen and Henning Larsen as well as from Stanley Kubrick's classic film The Shining, O'Kane creates a connection between what is real and imagined by appropriating existing architectural structures and modifying them through the process of painting.It is the conjunction of isolated beauty and impending danger that lies at the heart of the work of Eamon O'Kane. The forms of the architecture cut across the trees and vegetation suggest an unwelcome and unyielding intervention. O'Kane recognises the forest or wood as a space which has been historically formulated as a place of mystery, outside culture, and thus, a figment of our imagination.

 

The paintings of Henning Larsen's Studio House represent a departure from the earlier series Studio in the Woods in that they are meditations on a place that has been created specifically for making artwork. Where other people dream about the ideal home, O'Kane fantasises about the ideal studio. In O'Kane's vision, however, the soft brushwork, the unnatural skies and picture-postcard framing serve to heighten the sense of the buildings as models or stage-sets, devoid of occupants and set outside society. These paintings exemplify the dichotomies which run throughout O'Kane's practice: the utopia and dystopia of the rural retreat; the distant view which resists closer inspection; civilisation and its antithesis; artifice and the natural order.