A Sweep of Time by Dermot Healy

Eigse Catalogue : selected artist

Dura mater 2006What Sinéad Aldridge does is pierce a painting through a lot of paper work to try and resolve the structure. The palette begins with colour and line simultaneously. She draws from real life but what ends uo on the canvas is an attempt to capture time, and the landscape , and the mind of the body that observes those links. A painting can begin for her by what she saw looking out from the windows of an aeroplane or the structure of a car she saw in passing.

Forms are humbling, like old friars or nuns, whipped across the canvas in a quiet Baconesque spirit. The titles of the works are often plays on words, as are the paintings themselves, a play on what we see. An eye is buried at the core of the work titled Keeper. What Remains to be asked  leaves the question hanging in the air. She glues rabbit skin in a tight stretch onto the board to leave a gap at the edges so the image can float.

Colour is linear. A line of blue is the sky. The surrounds are the sudden changes in light along a beach. Colour is her climate. Red drips down like blood. The pillow is surrounded by boards. Everything is shifting. A glance changes everything in one quick brush stroke . The cobalt blue allows a green to go in a different journey. The grey flies off quietly without a sound. Temperament is echoed, as line and colour suddenly form ancient faces and bodies made of circles. The neck rises up into the physical imagination. Emotions sit playing on a bench.

If she is freer in drawing, in painting she is entering the long psychological wait; trying to start off without a theme, then spending a lot of time watching what is happening, and waiting to try and understand what is going on. Then the paintings are put on a wall and shifted from this angle, from here to there in an attempt to get them talking to each other. Groups of paintings are very closely related, and yet the task is to give each their own unique identity, and this is what Sinéad Aldridge has done.

Sat down in front of the Masters with her sketch book and then travelled a long way home remembering where to put the dark, and where to let the light in; how to turn a tent into an amphitheater; an island of walls into small figures of eights; up at the front are the footsteps going back to work a circular path through the colours that nature has worn into stone and sand and timbers; there are boats, side cars, handbags, pools, flat packs all filled with shadow and constructs that at least lead you to the wonder of the humane.

There are beautiful constructions that suddenly taper away to a single exhalation with only a single thin wavering line to hold on to. The etymology of paint and the visual world has found an erring practitioner. The history of the eye has rarely been so well observed. These are great inner works of the outside world- a haunting sweep of the real, still moving on the canvas, and continuing to move in your mind as you look away, and look back, and go on.

Dermot Healy, April 2009