My week is filled with Exhibitions and Private Views; Monday was Sean Mannion’s Lumen Exhibition
I’ve known Sean Mannion for a long time and was delighted to have been invited to his private View of Lumen which he describes as an exhibition ‘concerned with interior space, habitation and corporeal’
It was held in Wakefield Cathedral which is such a fitting cloistered space for his paintings and the sheer scale of them. Sean’s not the kind of painter to do something 10’’ x 8’’, No, he thinks BIG, were talking between 4ft & 6ft square of pure oil paint filled canvas heaven.
The beauty of Sean’s oil paintings is also the deep meaning and research he does for his work; I asked him how he would describe the Lumen exhibit.
“This fluidity of illumination is recorded in different ways in this exhibition.
My paintings are composed of forms and spaces that reference Megalithic temples found on the Mediterranean islands of Malta and Gozo together with the remains of World War One sea defences found on the north east coast at Kilnsea, East Yorkshire.
These places share similarities, remains from a turbulent past, strong connections with the sea, holding forms that had been eroded to create sculptural ghosts, creating dramatic environments naturally. Ancient and modern architecture is juxtaposed and layered creating new internal spaces and forms.”
He has a great way with words, gifted artist and cleaver wordsmith with hidden talents, just like his work, because trust me when I say ‘they have to be seen’ to appreciate the craft and depth of colour he achieves; you almost fall into them and become mixed with the oils. This is NOT to be missed.
Now comes the BUT!..
Sean show wasn’t a solo event; he had a welcome guest…his wife Charlotte who at first I thought wouldn’t complement his work, how ‘SO’ wrong could I have been.
Charlotte’s concerns “lie within the inequality of others. The red figurative sculptures denote the individual – stripped of all identity – except for the Lumen – the veins carrying the life force.” She says “Without the external indices of race, creed, colour, age, gender we are all the same and should be treated with dignity and humanity”.
I was totally in awe of these 9ft sculptures; I think it was the pure resonance of the space in which they were placed that did it, the FIVE red cardinals, the five fingers of God. The number of figures wasn’t incidental either; she chose it as a number of nature, a Fibonacci number.
The time and work these two have put into this exhibition is phenomenal, on first glance you’d assume Charlotte’s Fingers of God are just red wire, look harder… as they’re red felt which has been hand stitched over copper wire, which alone took her over 50 HOURS of stitching, and she’s no slouch when it comes to needlecraft.
As for Sean, what can I say; the guy really loves his work, almost too much!… Nearly to the point where he can’t put a price tag on them because they’ve become part of him, and when he finally does get to the ugly word ‘money’ he practically gives them away. That man needs an agent.
I would urge you to go see this exhibition, which is now on until Wednesday the 30th of November 2011.