Margot A. LoudonNon classé

Visit to IMMA

The Irish Modern Art Museum is in an old military hospital, repurposed to house a permanent collection of contemporary art and exhibitions. I caught an exhibition Life above Everything bringing together works of Lucian Freud and Jack B. Yeats. The exhibition was highlighting ways in which Freud may have been influenced by Yeats, their shared interest in animals, animal/human relationships, and particular compositional elements. My main takeaway, however, was how differently their work developed. In his paintings from different periods, Freud used his consummate painterly approach to reveal physical traits, render recognizable portraits, reflect character and relationships. Yeats in contrast in his later expressive works used paint to conceal. Relationships are often ambiguous. His figures are variously faceless, eyeless, their gender barely distinguishable. There is no intimacy. Do the couple on The Bus by the River know each other? Will those around the table in Dinner Party enjoy each other’s company? His use of colour is quite different from Freud’s, lending another-worldly quality or timelessness to some of his works like Westerly Wind and Confidence.

I complemented this exhibition with an exhibition at the National Library on his older brother, W. B. Yeats. It was most informative and learning of his interest in folklore and mysticism, I wondered if this did not contribute to his brother’s work too.