dublin

View of “Eoin Mc Hugh,” 2014–15. Foreground: the ground itself is kind, black butter, 2014. Background: what we know in what we see, 2014.

Eoin Mc Hugh

Kerlin Gallery

View of “Eoin Mc Hugh,” 2014–15. Foreground: the ground itself is kind, black butter, 2014. Background: what we know in what we see, 2014.

A curious meeting of man and beast was central to the keyed-up drama of Eoin Mc Hugh’s “the skies will be friendlier then.” Dominating one end of the room was a grotesque quasi-equine sculpture titled the ground itself is kind, black butter (all works 2014): a headless hybrid animal made mainly from wax, black sheepskin, and steel. It was an absurd and somewhat frightening creature: part staggering newborn foal; part menacing, mutant four-legged ostrich. The sculpture’s title—taken from Seamus Heaney’s 1969 poem “Bogland”—was surely meant to highlight how this unsteady, deformed animal had the dark, leathery look of bodies found long-preserved in Europe’s peat bogs. (These centuries-old remains are recurrent objects of poetic scrutiny in Heaney’s early writing).

But the imposing, acephalous beast was also freakishly sui generis—an unnamable being imaginatively

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