In his new exhibition, ’Seasons’, Eamon O’Kane continues his exploration of notions of utopia and dystopia and how humankind, in perceiving itself as separate to the natural world and attempting to control nature and construct a type of technological utopia, has disrupted the natural equilibrium and put the planet on the brink of a dystopian chaos.
O’Kane points to the seasons as one of these states of equilibri-um and he has created paintings, sculptures, drawings and animations which explore a world increasingly out of sync. Global warming is causing changes in climate patterns and atmospheric circulation, which are both disrupting the natural seasonal calendar that we have come to expect. Trees are budding earlier than fifty years ago, and blossoms emer-ge weeks ahead of their natural timing. Spring is arriving earlier and getting shorter year on year. These disruptions are severely affecting wildlife as they depend on a series of interconnected rhythmic events in order to survive.
O’Kane will present a series of new tree sculptures with architectural models and wooden screens. The large trees are located in the center of the gallery room, and on the floor below are countless, systematically arranged wooden blocks and sticks. The wooden blocks are inspired by the educator Friedrich Fröbel’s construction sets for children. Fröbel’s ideas about brick constructions as part of the child’s natural devel-opment connect to the rapidly changing man-made landsca-pes that appear in several of O’Kane’s animations, which are constructed through a unique painting technique.
Juxtaposed with the sculptural installation are O’Kane’s latest paintings, which are also inspired by architecture and depict paradisiacal buildings by renowned modernist ar-chitects Eileen Gray, Richard Neutra, Walter Gropius, Mies van der Rohe and Lina Bo Bardi. These works, devoid of human presence, hint at the likely futility of man’s endeavors to create a precarious scenario where utopia seems within reach but is in danger of slipping away due to a disturbing presence lurking just beneath the surface.
The final element in the exhibition is multiple large and small-scale drawings, prints and paintings on paper of trees. O’Kane has created drawings from photographs taken on walks in his local area during the pandemic and mixed them with paintings based on a psychological projective test, the Baum Test, and the more familiar psychological test, the Rorschach or ink blot test.