at Origin Gallery 21st September – 17th October 2017
AIDAN DUNNE, Irish Times Art Critic wrote of Cahill’s pre-occupation with ‘the head’.
“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.
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.”
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’.
SUSAN ZELOUF of Gloss Magazine wrote about Cahill’s exhibition ‘HEADS VIII’ at Origin Gallery in 2015…
In Julia Cameron’s workbook The Artist’s Way, she suggests the path to a more creative life includes making time for yourself, once a week, on your own, to go on a solo expedition she calls an Artist Date.
You needn’t spend a lot of money taking yourself out to drinks, dinner and a movie; an hour or two at a good gallery like the Origin in Dublin 2 is free, with stimulating exhibitions overseen by the astute eye and passionate commitment of Dr. Noelle Campbell-Sharp, gallerist, publisher, philanthropist, ex-music manager and Napoleon buff.
Noelle is also the heart, brains and guts behind The Cill Rialaig Artists Retreat, a lovingly restored pre-famine village on remote Bolus Head in Co. Kerry, where Cahill ‘spent time’ – like other Irish and International artists painting, composing, often reinventing themselves.
…Eddie Cahill did time in Portlaoise prison for a laundry list of crimes; before that, as children, he and his late brother Martin ‘The General’ Cahill served another kind of sentence, at St. Joseph’s Industrial School in Letterfrack. It was through the Art in Prison programme, under the guidance of artist Brian Maguire, then Head of Painting at NCAD, that Eddie Cahill became deeply engaged with painting.
When 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.
Ros Drinkwater, Sunday Business Post wrote of Eddie Cahill’s love of art that allowed him to start his life again…
“In Portlaoise Prison the lights go out at 10pm, leaving the prisoners in the dark. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”, says Eddie Cahill. “I used to save my butter, melt it down, throw away the fat and use the oil as a candle. That gave me enough light to paint… I began by pinching paints from the art room, taking them back to my cell and having a go after lights out…”
“Aged 13, contemptuous of the Christian Brothers school he attended, he ran away and was sent to Letterfrack Industrial School. “I didn’t like that any better, so I legged it.” Caught again, he was given two years at Daingean Reformatory, legged it from there, was brought before the courts when he assaulted the Garda trying to take him back, and sent to St. Patrick’s Borstal for 12 months.”
All works are mixed media on paper
Show continues until Oct 17th 2017