• Kevin Cosgrove: A Peening Sound

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    29 October –  18 December, 2016

    The Butler Gallery was delighted to present A Peening Sound, an exhibition of new paintings by Kevin Cosgrove.

    Working in oil on linen, Cosgrove makes intensely crafted representational paintings that concentrate on the motif of the workspace: de-populated factory interiors, mechanics’ garages, hobbyist wood working sheds – spaces where manual work takes place. In the process of depiction there is a meticulous concern for the language, methodologies and history of painting.

    The title of the exhibition A Peening Sound refers to the sound of someone striking metal – a bright, pure and precise note. For the artist, a ringing hammer has been linked to ideas of truth, industriousness, and divine justice.[1] In the painting Lakeside, an ethereal white light makes its presence felt, revealing life beyond the workshop with boats docked at a marina. In speaking with the artist, Cosgrove mentions a kind of spiritual consciousness happening in the workshop paintings, where this white light flows in. He goes on to say: I became interested in the cultural and spatial shift that occurred during the Reformation, where places of worship were re-defined and cluttered idolatry made way for an austere and minimalist aesthetic. I sometimes think that the workshop paintings are a hybrid of both of these aesthetic choices and their corresponding sets of ethics.[2] Indeed, Cosgrove’s desire to attach meaning and narrative and in a way, venerate these spaces through their depiction, seem at odds with the remarkable naturalism of his execution. Objects that appeared to be part of an ongoing workshop process often seem at once inert or still, their primary function changed to convey a serene, timeless sense of form, light and shadow.

    In this exhibition, Cosgrove explored new larger scale works, something he has long desired. In addition, several medium-sized works conveyed a different, more seasoned sense of artistic authorship, freer in style, with time constraints self-imposed upon the process. These works create a fresh and compelling dialogue with the established workshop paintings.

    Kevin Cosgrove (born 1984, lives and works in Dublin) gained a BA (Hons) in Fine Art from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin (2007). Cosgrove was one of the winners of the Jerwood Contemporary Painters, London (2010) and his work is held in many private collections in Europe and America.  Selected exhibitions include: Some kind of real, The Dock, Leitrim; Art Basel Hong Kong with mother’s tankstation (2016); Don’t shoot the painter, Villa Reale’s Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Milan; What Is and What Might Be, Drogheda Arts Festival, Highlanes Gallery, Louth (2015); Remake, mother’s tankstation, Dublin (2014); 40/40/40, Centro Cultural Conde Duque, Madrid; Biblioteka Uniwersytecka, Warsaw; Pallazo Della Farnesina, Rome; Built with Love, mother’s tankstation, Dublin (2013); Frieze Art Fair, London; FRAME a solo presentation with mother’s tankstation; Last, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2012); Just the Usual, mother’s tankstation, Dublin; Monkey Wrench, Ormston House, Limerick (2011); LISTE 15, Basel, Open Space at Art Cologne, both with mother’s tankstation (2010); FUTURES, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin (2009); Open Space at Art Cologne (2010) and The Untitled First Album, mother’s tankstation (2008).

    Kevin Cosgrove is represented by mother’s tankstation, Dublin.

    With thanks to the Arts Council for essential annual funding and to the OPW, Department of Social Protection and Kilkenny Local Authorities for additional assistance.

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    Footnote: 1&2 In conversation with Kevin Cosgrove.


    Culture Fox TV/ Art In Ireland TV: November 16, 2016