“Everything is in everything” brings together the work of eight contemporary Ireland-based artists working with paint: Kevin Cosgrove, Oscar Fouz Lopez, Justin Larkin, Susan Montgomery, Kevin Mooney, Sarah O’Brien, Ciara Roche and Kathy Tynan. The exhibition, curated by Claire Ryan offers a glimpse into the practices of these artists and aims to acknowledge painting and its relevance within the increasingly digital world we find ourselves in.
The title of the exhibition refers to the theory of matter put forward by the natural philosopher Anaxagoras (5th century BCE). Anaxagoras was part of the Ionian school of Greek philosophers who are credited with being the first philosopher-scientists in the western tradition. These philosophers turned away from age old theories of the cosmos that were attributed to the whims of the gods. Instead, through abstract reasoning and keen observation they formulated various theories on the nature of reality.
Anaxagoras divided mind and matter, for him mind is an intelligent force that initiated the birth of the cosmos. He believed that before the universe was formed there was an infinite mixture of everything that lay dormant until mind set it in motion. This created an evolving, ordered cosmos in which every single material object no matter how small or large contained all the ingredients that make up the universe. According to Anaxagoras “Everything is in everything,” you cannot separate out any one ingredient, only mind is ever unmixed and it is the governing life force of everything. The seeds of everything are in everything, but what we see are only those things which predominate.
Just as mind governs the cosmos, so our bodies are governed by our minds. Painting is a prime example of the mixture of mind and matter, bodily motion and creative expression. The painting, a product of thought and technique is a balancing act of brushstrokes, colour and space, a unique register of the painter’s hand. And just like the early Greek philosopher-scientists observed and questioned the world around them, the same can be said of the artists in this exhibition, each with their own distinct vision.
NOM (2019) Paint on canvas. 90cm x 70cm