Critics’ Picks

Lawrence Carroll, Untitled, 2011, oil, wax, canvas on wood, plastic buckets, shoes, leaves, neon, 11'6“ x 9'10 1/2” x 1'.

Lawrence Carroll, Untitled, 2011, oil, wax, canvas on wood, plastic buckets, shoes, leaves, neon, 11'6“ x 9'10 1/2” x 1'.

Dublin

Lawrence Carroll

Hugh Lane Gallery
Charlemont House Parnell Square North
November 9, 2012–February 10, 2013

Steadfastly resisting fashionable trends, or even any particular progression, Lawrence Carroll’s exhibited works span almost thirty years. Their cumulative effect is a curious cross between melancholic nihilistic resignation, endorsed by titles such as Guilt and Always Alone, both 1992, and a peppering of hope derived from the small beauties that life still offers. This hope appears in the guise of real and plastic flowers (Untitled Wax Floor Piece, 1999; Untitled, 2003), neon light (Untitled, 2011), and in the calm, restrained, yet insistent presence exuded by the pieces in their entireties.

Carroll’s overall palette is muted—pale grays, dirty white, and sludgy creams—as he employs oil, wax, household paint, stitched canvas, and studio dust to create large paintings and smaller objects, both floor-based and protruding from the gallery walls. The paintings themselves have a three-dimensional aspect, in the layering and stitching of their canvases as well as the inclusion of folds, ledges, and even glass- and Plexiglas-paned windows.

In Closet, 1994–2003, the painting becomes, in an upsized version of a Joseph Cornell piece, a box of memories, as the construction of its canvas has been expanded to include such objects as a lightbulb, electric cord, and a pair of Robert Rauschenberg’s paint-spattered shoes (donated by Rauschenberg to Carroll). Elsewhere, in Untitled (Freezing Shoes), 2006, Carroll’s own shoes are placed on a plinth and covered in ice. Here, making art is a way of holding fleeting emotion and memory, of stopping time, even in its most banal moments. Citing Giorgio Morandi as a hero, Carroll creates art that rewards a slower, more meditative way of viewing, and given time, his are works that stay with you.