Ruairi Fallon McGuigan
Solo Residency Exhibition
Exhibition dates: 8 — 16 April 2022
Private View: Thursday, 7 April 6-9PM
Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop is thrilled to present “Future Memory”, the Solo Residency Exhibition by Ruairi Fallon McGuigan, who has been working in the studio above the gallery space from January— March 2022. Please join us for the Private View on Thursday, 7 April 6-9 pm.
By Stacie McCormick, Director of Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop
Mark Twain famously stated, “one must never try to describe your dreams as it is impossible to convey the experience” (paraphrase). I have often endeavoured to share my previous night’s exploits in dreamland only to fall into this very distinction – absolutely unable to get across the feeling and visions our brains ramble through whilst we sleep. It is often a fleeting object, a long-lost friend, a view of a landscape, a beloved family member and those mysterious places combined of all of our experiences that we wander through and above and around only to awaken, blurry eyed into reality often aching to see all of those people and places again. It is this mystery, this oddity of juxtapositions and ethereality that prevails throughout the paintings of Ruairi Fallon Mcguigan, a figurative painter that spent 3 months at Unit 1 Gallery|Workshop challenging himself daily with his largest paintings to date.
Ruairi is a memory hoarder. Files of hundreds of his own photographs and those of strangers are strewn across the studio, cross referenced and checked against the life size figures that feel self-portrait and stranger at the same time. Ruairi has skill, serious technical skills that he wields with a finesse and prowess that impresses instantly, yet these skills are not the end game – they are the tools he utilises to successfully engage the viewer into his rather unfathomable worlds. These epic, mural like paintings have you asking questions and getting roped into these memory/dreamscapes that evade understanding. Passages of intense photo realism melt into pure material richness. Unfinished, layered expanses leave room for your own imagination to roam and infer narratives. A faded photograph, a gilded grandad begins his own disintegration, yet laughs fireside as the artists self-portrait burns memories in the campfire. People, nature, structure are thrown together and hang in opposition to each other, the man-made structures are remnant aftermaths of and form a rickety unstable construction for the players to act upon and the memories to abide.
It is indeed and privilege as well as pleasure to have Ruairi in the solo studio as his is a practice of joy and it is infectious. Ruairi wants to paint, to challenge himself and to push his limits. Constantly questioning and in dialogue with the works that evolve organically as he moves through them, initially laying down a form of what appeared to be random colour and grids to then craft structures, perspectives and inhabitants that conjure themselves from Ruairi’s focused dance of radical abstract play into focused realism. The oscillation between the specific and the vague are in constant vibration and allow the viewer the opportunity to fill in the missing parts. We roam from mountains to beaches to campfires to derelict houses and instinctively know these places only exist in one man’s imagination and he has proven Mark Twain’s refrain wrong – Ruairi Fallon McGuigan can describe his dreams, his memories and indicate what it feels like to experience them. The dreamscapes are now recorded in oil on linen and whilst real, remain ungraspable and elusive eternally awaiting completion, such as our memory fails us – the sensation of that memory is just out of reach.
Ruairi Fallon McGuigan was brought up in a post Troubles Belfast where the idea of identity was strong, visually emblazoned across the city. Ruairi moved to London to study at Camberwell College of Arts in 2011. Post university Ruairi has lived alternatively in studios, squats and caravans with the intention of having reduced costs and the time to maintain and develop his artistic practices without the financial pressures of London slowly overwhelming him. These experiences have had a huge effect on his artwork; expanding his processes to include large scale installations, furniture and textiles works.
He has been consistently exhibiting over the last few years Including his solo exhibition “A fork in the road” (AMP gallery, 2020), Summer exhibition (Royal Academy of Arts, 2020) and Consequences of circumstance (Zari gallery, 2021) in London.
Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop is an exhibition and residency space in London and unique in its approach to bringing artists and their practices to the public. They support a diverse range of emerging and mid-career contemporary artists by providing them with space and time to develop their practice, network within our growing community, be mentored by team members and crucially be introduced to their expansive network of collectors, art educators, professionals and visitors.
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