The starting premise of Patrick Redmond’s latest body of work is Nietzsche’s assertion that there is no real world, no state of objective reality, only our subjective interpretations. He presents images of a young man wading waist-high through water at night, of unidentified figures slumped by a roadside and in an eerily-lit wood, and of a man kneeling on a bare concrete floor, praying perhaps - or pleading for mercy? The subjects in the work are often alone, unaware of the viewer’s presence, oblivious to being observed. They are depicted at in-between moments, at intervals of some kind. Some appear lost, some to be searching for something. Others seem engaged in a struggle between reality and illusion, or the interior and exterior world.
The idea of the ‘uncanny’ has always been central to Redmond’s work and again underpins this exhibition. The word 'uncanny' has come to be defined as anything strange or mysterious and is derived from the now obsolete use of ‘can’ to mean ‘know’; hence, canny for knowing. Thus the 'uncanny' equals the 'unknown' or to put it another way, 'the unconscious'. Freud's term for the 'uncanny' is Das Unheimlich, which literally translates as 'the unhomely'. In the context of Redmond's use of everyday objects and scenes, the German idiom suits very well, as these seductive, photo-realistic pieces are distilled from such a peculiarly psychological intensity.
All of the paintings suggest repressed episodes from a personal or social history, drawing on our collective memory. Depending on the viewers’ experiences or dispositions, the work takes the guise of something threatening or comforting. It forces viewers to confront what they are looking at and lookingfor.
Patrick Redmond was born in Wexford in 1976. He has had four solo exhibitions at The Molesworth Gallery and one at The Wexford Arts Centre. He has shown at the RHA Annual Exhibition in Dublin, where he has been the recipient of numerous awards, and the BP Portrait Award Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, London. He has also participated in curated group shows at the Iontas Arts Centre in Co. Monaghan and the Garter Lane Arts Centre in Co. Waterford.