The Molesworth Gallery is delighted to present an exhibition of new paintings by Catherine Barron.
In her latest body of work, Barron explores the nature of colour, how we perceive it and how that translates into a broader existential understanding of the relationship between subjective experience and objective reality.
‘It’s assumed that people experience colour in much the same way physiologically,’ Barron says, 'but it’s an assumption that cannot be proven in objective terms.’ For the artist, colour is a subjective phenomenon that defies objectification: ‘Although we do recognise certain objective principles of colour as properties of light interacting with the physical world, we also know that they do not exist as an independent property of things, or even at all, unless perceived.’
‘The experience of colour can be shared and agreed upon through resonance,’ she continues, ‘which is a mode of communication based on the matching of wavelengths. To be on the same wavelength, is to share an understanding. As such, colour has come to stand for the expression of other non-objectivised experiences, such as emotional or sensational responses. When we talk about the colour of things, it is not then just their appearance, but how they feel to us, how they affect us, and in turn, recognising that it is how we are also, that can affect the very nature of what we see.’
The writer, Anaïs Nin, said that ‘we see the world not as it is, but as we are’. Most of us would implicitly agree with that sentiment, because we will have observed how our psychological state impacts on the quality and nature of our experience. Barron’s interests lie in investigating this boundary between the subjective and the objective: ‘How and to what extent, does subjectivity or individual consciousness, play a role in not only how we observe reality, but the making and shaping of it? The playground series in this body of work evokes associative play and wonder, in an attempt to address the ultimate question; does form follow consciousness?’
‘Art is a manifestation of form following consciousness. In whatever embodied states as art forms, the full energetic spectrum of play through its oppositional and complimentary orientations of attraction and pursuit, is engaged. But does life imitate art as Oscar Wilde suggested? Or is it possible to dispense with the boundary between art and life altogether, and view experience as a conscious creation, or co-creation along with objectivised physicality, that is constantly emerging or unfolding in accordance with our internal state, our essential selves?’
Born in Carlow, Catherine Barron is a visual artist, writer, arts facilitator and creativity researcher. She has won multiple awards for her work, including the Adams and De Veres awards at the RHA annual exhibition and the inaugural Amelia Earhart prize for an Irish female artist (Derry, 2022). She was shortlisted for the Hennessy portrait prize (now Zurich prize) at the National Gallery of Ireland in 2015. Her work is represented in many public and private collections including the National Portrait Collection (University of Limerick), the EPA, the OPW, Fingal County Council, Bank of Ireland, the Department of Education, Carlow Institute of Technology and the Haverty Trust.