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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Searching for Cian

Self Portrait II
Shouting Man
I only mention it but getting lost, while hoofing it through ginormous crowds of holiday shoppers in downtown Dublin on a Saturday, is annoying as all hell. Saints Botolph and Christopher were NOT watching over me as I tried, mightily (dammit), to look like a native, i.e., NOT a hopelessly lost tourist and purse snatcher target. Bastid absent saints!

Mighta helped, if I was, ya know, Catholic and believed in all that patron saint stuff. Details, details…

After about an hour of fruitless wandering, I stopped into a bakery. Of course I did – cookies AND directions – win/WIN. The wonderfully kind, patient baker lady with beautiful handwriting, wrote down how to get unlost and off I went.

My off course peregrinations began at 11 AM when I set out from my hotel for a tour of all the places carrying Cian McLoughlin’s work (hotels, pubs, theaters, a museum and a gallery). When I looked on the Google map back in my WiFied room, each place appeared closeby-ish and near each other. Also, it looked like a mostly straight line down to the general area.

Turns out Dublin is very similar to home – “straight” is wholly relative AND there’s a rock solid dearth of street signs. I thought I was all set with my trusty iPhone – I could just plug the address in and *PING* I’d be smoothly GPSed there. Turns out my connection only works if I’m in a WiFied joint. Step outside and *POOF* it’s gone, baby, gone. grumble, grumble, grumble

Head of a Woman
Head of a Man
Still, I managed to find the Molesworth Gallery and what a WONDERFUL gallery it is. I knew Cian's show was down but hoped the work might be stacked in a backroom or something. Yes BUT all had been wrapped for travel. I could only view them through a scrim of bubble wrap, getting just a sense of them. I SO wanted to lamp his brill brushwork.

Brushstrokes are the fingerprints, tripped out on sugar and endorphins, of a painting. They can turn a straight ahead, bland repro into an utter masterpiece. Think of John Singer Sargent’s society portraits – often dull, staid figures but his wild brushwork makes them live.

The Molesworth’s abso-lovely gallery worker GAVE me the book, selling for 10 Euros, which accompanied McLoughlin's show. The exhibit they've up now is very nice...attractive but, compared to Cian’s, it’s just wall decoration.

There are a few more places that I want to check out – the Dean Hotel (which he recommends for rooftop cocktails), the Westbury Hotel (good for lunch) and Neary’s Bar (they do a great Guinness which is a bonus). Sheesh, it’s like Cian totally knows me. Jen should be here for this art tour – we’d have a blast.

Today I’m hitting the National Gallery where there’s a shows of Frederic William Burton’s work AND Käthe Kollwitz too! Bonus Cian here – he was shortlisted for the Hennessy Portrait Prize and that shows up NOW. Psyched!


  1. In the 1960s, the Catholic Church took Saint Christopher off of the calendar because they couldn't find satisfactory proof that he'd ever existed.

    So that might be why there's no real divine help for travelers anymore.

    Those paintings are fantastic and surreal and I just love them and their darkness.

  2. So Saint Chris is pissed that the Church dissed him so he's letting me get horribly lost? Great. Fine. That's just bloody LOVELY! Rotten saint. I wonder what Botolph's excuse is. Hmmph.

    I saw the piece Cian has at the Hennessy Portrait Prize show today and it was aMAZING. Every bit as awesome in person as it is in these repros. Dude SO should've won the damn prize.

  3. Great paintings. There is a dream quality to them.