london

Hughie O'Donoghue

Fabian Carlsson Gallery

Hughie O’Donoghue’s paintings succeed in being both vitally alive and calm, even somber. They are rendered with spontaneity and passion, as well as vulnerability. All are oil on linen, and their surfaces vary from smooth and polished to heavily impastoed. O’Donoghue pits the complex colors of nature against those of synthetic paint. He merges deep, complex blacks and subtle, cool green-grays, punctuating them with powerful flashes of fiery red.

These recent works have more explicitly human references than many of his previous works. They are more ambiguous than, say, his studies of the bird and flight, although, like those works, they project a palpable sense of movement. O’Donoghue uses paint in a bravura manner, often to portray a distorted figure falling in a vortex. In the huge Sleeper Bruised VIII, 1988–89, two-thirds of the surface is black; the splash of figure is a spiraling image

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