Critics’ Picks

Patrick Scott, Meditation Painting 28, 2006, gold leaf and acrylic on unprimed canvas, 48 x 32".


Patrick Scott

Irish Museum of Modern Art
Royal Hospital Military Road Kilmainham
February 16 - May 18

Shown across two spaces—the Irish Museum of Modern Art and Visual Carlow—this magnificent retrospective covers key pieces from the career of Patrick Scott, spanning more than seventy years. The works made before 1970 are mainly at IMMA, and it is fascinating to see the grids, circles, and lines—which came to be so characteristic of his later white and gold, Minimal period—appear in these earlier figurative paintings. In Evening Landscape, 1944, a field of dark brown is intersected by white lines, with a circle outlined to the left. This is echoed in a yellow sun on a narrow red band at the top. Peacocks and other birds dot the landscape: vestiges of representation.

Bog Sun, 1959, has a large red circle on an umber ground. Lines representing the fronds of bog cotton reach up in the foreground. Compare this with the later “Meditation” series, made in the early 2000s, which forgoes these naturalistic details for only the most austere of elements. As Scott became influenced by Zen Buddhism, the circle and the line emerged as powerful symbols in his work, holding their own in his spare paintings, made with gold and tempera on unprimed canvas, as well as in a series of prints made in 2007 with Stoney Road Press.