Eddie Cahill ~ “Beneath the Surface”

At Origin Gallery from 19th October 2018

Eddie Cahill Rising Up', 47 x 33", Acrylic on paper

Message from Brian Maguire

‘I was privileged to have a brief preview of his work earlier this week. It is outstanding and very beautiful. His best work to date. He has gone from strength to strength over the 20+ years since he started working full time as an artist. I am sure the show will be a huge success and wish both of you my very best.’ 

In Peace,
Brian Maguire

Brian Maguire is an internationally recognised artist who led from NCAD the governments approved Prison Services’ ‘Painting in Prison’ project at Portlaoise Prison where he taught inmate Eddie Cahill who he seemed to have found to be the most talented of them all.

WORDS by AIDAN DUNNE, Irish Times Art Critic 
About the Artist

Eddie Cahill comes to paint with, as Dubuffet might say, an untutored eye. His paintings are unmediated, direct. He uses paint emotively, even, as is true of many expressionist painters, self-indulgently. His technique is unadorned – he draws roughly, compositions have an ad hoc air – but he does have a feeling for paint, for form and for colour, and each work develops in a natural, organic way.
Above: ‘Rejection’ 14.5 x 19.75″, Oil on paper

He also sustains real intensities of feeling, to the extent that everything in the paintings is subservient to feeling. Yet he holds onto a vision in making each picture and he is remarkably successful in conjuring up a consistent personal world. That world is dark-lit, fluid, dreamlike, often nightmarish. Figures and objects emerge out of a soup of pigment… usually, we are in a realm of darkness illuminated by a glowing light, and space itself is distorted as if bent by a force like gravity, pulled into the orbit of, as often as not, the centrally positioned head. This is the most common motif, one that by accident or design taps into the Celtic cult of the head

The head-and-shoulders of the conventional portrait is certainly an abiding model, an aspiration. But they end up as something entirely different. They move inwards instead of out, the head itself is turned inside –out, the magic box of tricks opens to reveal a dark, intense realm, a world stranger than we might have imagined, but also strangely familiar.”
Above: ‘Temporary Placement’ 14.5 x 19.75″, Oil on paper

The artist has moved on and developed an imagery that conveys human stories… in a difficult world. Homelessness being the uppermost concern especially in his own city, unemployment rampant particularly amongst the already disadvantaged. Lack of hope driving those on the edge of society to crime and drug dealing. All born out of poverty rather than anger as might have been previously the case when Irish society was under ‘the rule of Rome.”

Click here to view the RTE documentary made by Mark Mc Loughlin (Password: OUTSIDERS2014).
– Eddie Cahill and his reform through art. “The documentary explores in depth what made them turn their backs on crime and discover a new world in which art became their saviour. It explores their memories of a dramatic childhood to the events that drove them to the dark side of society. Lucas became an active republican and Eddie became a significant part of one of the most violent gangs in Dublin in the 1980’s. After years in crime they were both eventually incarcerated. That is where they met Brian Maguire, who helped trigger total change within them, and unleashed their dormant artistic talent. From that moment, they never stopped painting.”

SUSAN ZELOUF of Gloss Magazine wrote about Cahill’s
exhibition ‘HEADS VIII’ at Origin Gallery in 2015…

Eddie Cahill 'Poor Soul', 22 x 31", Acrylic on paperWhen you encounter any of his dark, elemental canvases in ‘HEADS VIII’, does it help to know Eddie’s background, the harrowing details of his life behind and beyond bars? When a work of art makes us stop in our tracks, at the same time moving us in a way often difficult to articulate, we realise we’re in the presence of an authentic voice, one that will not be subdued.

…The surface quality of these paintings is haute couture, edgy, fashion-forward, with an undertow that won’t easily release the viewer. We can imagine an alliance with Alexander McQueen, had he lived.

Should you or a canny collector pick up one of Cahill’s reasonably priced paintings at the Origin Gallery, we have a feeling you’d be making an excellent investment, as well as acquiring a piece that is at once thrillingly dangerous and impossible to turn away from.

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