AILEEN MURPHY.  200 × 280CM.   [ Ingrid Lyons.  Aileen Murphy.  Kathy Tynan. ]   KK.  2016.


200 × 280CM.

[Ingrid Lyons.

Aileen Murphy.

Kathy Tynan.]




PAINTING is better bigger; well the promise of big painting is better. We have so much of the incy-wincy ‘other’ that, what Lacan calls “The Big Other”, is a jettisoned orange dinghy farting against the big blue with no passengers to perform the pumped-up excesses that painting might need, painters might need, viewers might need. “Need” though is the wrong word here. We have all we need re’ good, small paintings; our needs are being met, satisfied. Though satisfaction does not dream or desire BIG, or feel the fallout from dreaming or desiring Yo! BIG. Art is not satisfaction. SATISFACTORY blemishes your school report but FAIL is the acne that leaves a crater. And you can’t fail BIG by painting small. Small painting is domestic, an empty cupboard, bite-size, private, pubic, Instagramable... inviting connoisseurship to what is objectified, not objectionable. Why the shortfall in excess, of BIG?—[small print] Boring excuses like storage and money aside. Always on the B-side of art history and A-list of contemporary painting, Merlin James claims that scale is driven by the art market. Too, that big paintings are “boring”, “academic” and a waste of space. What an injunction! In terms of International art market, a context that Merlin James is all too aware of and privy to, Merlin James is probably on the money. [note] The moment you tie a bigger price tag on your bigger paintings you are surrendering to a market that values bulk over promise, over art. But what of those more promising contexts that don't speculate on painting and painters in terms of money and transfers... ZZzzzzzwirner... If art is a luxury, a privilege, it ought to breed excesses where there are none, not more small furniture for those that live excessively. Not beige, but Big. Over here seems painters’ stomachs are full on gastric reduction. No dessert. No thought of dessert. No dream of dessert. I have a dessert belly; it is rumbling. I can count on two hands the significant moments I have experienced big painting abroad, but those moments are BIG MOMENTS. Here, in Ireland, one hand is enough, minus the middle finger. What constitutes big painting and a middle finger? Paintings bigger thaN 200CM that absolve painting from its frame and swivel on a "fuck you" of crumbling resolve. Tuymans at 347 × 500CM; Alex Katz at 274.3 × 548.6CM; Monet at 200 × 1276CM; Courbet at ‎315 × 660CM; Chris Martin at 26 FEET TALL; Amy Sillman All-Over; Laura Owens floor-to-ceiling; Richter; Schnabel. Here, in recent years, BIG has been promised as a gestalt of cumulative marks on a wall: Cliodhna Timoney at former Eight Gallery Dublin; Lee Welch at Catalyst Belfast. Sugar and Salt both. But Timoney and Welch did not wedge a gallery with a canvas like Brian Maguire’s 290 × 387CM at IMMA this year, or swallow three people like Aileen Murphy's 200 × 280CM at KK in 2016. PROMISES, promises.


P.S. Speaking of small painting, Forrest Bess opens at Stuart Shave Modern Art this October through December.

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