Momentum is an exciting showcase of oil paintings by Irish artist & film maker, Shane Sutton which spans a nine-year period.
Urban scenes dominate this collection, in which fleeting moments of intense beauty are captured. City dwellers move unaware of their surrounds, through spaces filled with steel and glass constructs, where city lights reflect off hard surfaces.
Inspired by his experiences and keen observations of urban living in cities around the globe including New York, Sydney and Dublin, much of Shane’s work has a photorealistic element to it, reminiscent of Edward Hopper or Richard Estes.
As Shane’s work is motivated by the challenge of rendering his unique perception of what is witnessed, his work is not strictly photorealistic, more stylised. As the artist strives towards precision with meticulous and methodical painting, loosely sketched paint is layered to a detailed working of the subject.
“The hustle and bustle of the city constantly moving has always fascinated me,” says Shane. “I’m drawn towards recreating urban scenes through meticulous brushwork, especially mechanical and reflective objects.”
“This collection started in Sydney in 2001 and now it shows a slow progression of this particular style I use’” says Shane. “The Dublin work was a progression in detail, although the tones and colours are quite subdued. The New York work merges elements of the Sydney and Dublin paintings.”
Shane was not always such a methodical painter. His earlier illustration work (1990-2000) exemplifies his sense of fun, evident in his signature, bug-eyed, animated characters which fill murals and pages of comics, sketchpads and websites.
It was around this time that he began working on a PC to earn his crust, doing graphics, animation and editing. When he moved to Sydney he continued to freelance, using his background in illustration to find work in video and film editing. While living in Sydney, enticed by the light and intense colours of this antipodean city, Shane began to explore with oils.
His earliest paintings (One Way; Either Way; Nine to Five; Harry Sidler Building) show a focus on colour, sometimes bold, other times muted. As he as began to move away from the two-dimensionality of his illustrations, Shane’s awareness of reflections and the visual power of neon and florescent light began to emerge in these paintings, an element which would become a strong feature of his later work.
As his style developed, so did his appreciation of composition, form and the importance of developing the skill of observation. With this growing awareness came a new direction, informed to a great extent by the work he was doing in design, editing and animation.
When he returned to Dublin in 2001 he began to focus on the process of painting, rather than on the finished product. The Scooter Gang (2003/2004) is an example of when his work began to take on a greater sense of three-dimensionality.
As his style matured, he began to produce works that toyed increasingly with spatial representation and reflection, such as Passing Thomas Read’s and Rick’s Reflected (2004/2005). Most of his paintings from 2004 to 2006 featured Dublin scenes and his style matured significantly with his paintings of New York scenes from 2008 to 2010, such as Subway, Wet Busz and Wet Fish.
As well as painting, Shane works in film and new media. He co-directed the multi-award-winning feature film, Fight or Flight for which he was also nominated a Best Editing Award at the 2009 Irish Film and Television Awards (IFTA). Short films Shane has worked on include Fail and Malgorzata and The Video Box.
Shane is currently painting, making films and working with young people in arts and new media.
The launch of Momentum will take place at Moxie Studios, Ladd Lane, off Lower Baggot Street Dublin 2, September 10th, 6-9pm. The exhibition will run from September 11th-18th. Opening hours 12pm-5pm daily. Admission to the exhibition is free.