Post Cards Home

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And now a feather falls

Post Cards Home

RHA Gallagher Gallery | Dublin | 1997

In 1995 I was elected President of The European Council of Artists – an NGO lobbying for better living and working conditions for all artists in Europe. Around that time artists’ organisations in Eastern Europe were in disarray as a result of the Berlin Wall coming down. I spent a lot of time working in rural locations in and around the former Soviet Union developing and implementing projects with artists groups. Over this period I began using notebooks to record these encounters with people in places - in landscapes that had not been touched by modernity. I made drawings/ watercolours on cards and posted them ‘home’ to Ireland. These paintings were made in response to the stories told to me of both personal and cultural hardships resulting from political censorships and lack of artistic freedom.

Opening Speech by Dermot Healy

Is that a scrotum I ask you?

A mountain is titled to suit a perspective. Images shift across the canvas till they find their place.

But all the time, at the heart of the abstraction, is a line yielding to the linear. A place.

He dithers in the outside worlds, hungry for what is inside. Then he brings a little of what is outside in, and a little of what is inside out. He sends home some os what he took away with him and brings back something of where he has been. It’s a two way system the world of symbol and the world of light. Tenacious, ever searching, physical, Colman listens well to what the elements are saying. Over the years I’ve watched a painting of his I had on the wall of my study slowly slip sideways down out of it’s frame. And I went with it. Only a half an inch maybe, but it was very unsettling. It threw the room off kilter.

What began as a moonscape ended up as something else entirely. I wanted badly to put it back the way it was…. The only word I can safely use is suspended.

As the works here in Postcards Home are suspended. We are somewhere on a journey alright with an artist who is in control of a benign but drifting world. Ghosts of representations may slip across the canvasses but they too are suspended. These pictures really hang. It is a technical and emotional feat to achieve such balance. He’s welcome back to dig our garden anytime.

Opening speech by Dermot Healy for Postcards Home, an exhibition of painting by Eamon Colman at the RHA Gallagher Gallery, Dubln 1997