The Breakfast Club
- 06 September 2018
Temple Bar Gallery + Studios is pleased to present a new solo exhibition by Irish artist Stephen Loughman. Incorporating painting, sculpture and video, Proven Answers takes its title from the opening lines to the 1969 film version of Ray Bradbury’s short story The Illustrated Man and uses narrative strands from this film as its basis.
Proven Answers is a continuation of Loughman’s career-long approach to appropriation of film imagery in his paintings. Using imagery mainly sourced from science fiction and horror films, paused on his TV screen and meticulously copied and distilled into paintings, Loughman appropriates commercial media images to create a new meaning. This approach lends his works an uncanny and unsettling atmosphere. The images he paints are charged with a strange energy; the feeling that something is about to happen or has already happened, and, as Hugo Hamilton has noted exists as “fictionalised somewhere in the past by culture and commerce“.
Loughman deliberately leaves the interpretation of his paintings open-ended for the viewer. For example in the diptych “Wolf/Walking” a repeated image of a chair barricading a door could be considered stock images which could have been taken from any number of thriller or suspense films. In this case, the two images have been appropriated from The Babadook and It Follows two recent commercially successful horror films. Loughman’s distillation of these images in painting creates a potential space for the viewer to consider other ideas alluding to barricading or fortification.
Invoking the great tradition of model making in science fiction, Loughman has created a model of ‘the Sun Dome’, a plot device which in the film The Illustrated Man acts as a place of refuge from the harsh environment of an alien planet. For Loughman it operates as a visual punctuation within the exhibition providing a pause in the narrative. In the film the titular character (played by Rod Steiger), is transported to various realities through the mysterious tattoos on his body. Loughman uses a similar approach to transport the viewer into a variety of uncanny worlds, creating new narrative connections between his imagery. Source material for other paintings have been taken from classic dystopian films such as Capricorn One and Fahrenheit 451, invoking the great tradition of science fiction reflecting contemporary anxieties.
Selected solo exhibitions include ‘WI’, Kevin Kavanagh Gallery (2016); Volta NY solo presentation (2012) and 26th São Paulo Biennale (2004). Selected group exhibitions include ‘Hold to the Now’, SLAG Gallery NYC (2015); ‘Last’, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2012) and ‘what happens next is a secret’, IMMA (2010). Stephen Loughman is a three year studio member at Temple Bar Gallery + Studios.
Stephen Loughman is supported by a Visual Arts Bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland, 2018.