Gerry Devlin

Intrigue at The Engine Room Gallery

An array of visual experiences confronts the viewer at the Engine Room Gallery - an interesting combination of colour, texture and form are offered by artist Gerry Devlin.

Devlin uses the space at the Engine Room gallery to maximum effect with the arrangement of the work complementing the gallery interior, producing a considered and planned collection. The colour contained by the opening pieces draw you through the corridor of canvases towards the second room where muted variations on the same theme are portrayed.

At first glance the paintings appear delicate, aesthetic, purely visual vibrant blocks of colour and shade, but as you study the work, objects emerge through the tiered colour. These objects are a strange assortment.

They range from the commonplace; a walking stick, a coat-hanger, a tie, to the singular; a chalice, an Erlenmeyer flask, a molecular structure diagram. Some portrayals are ambiguous and could be translated into any number of possible entities.

Ulterior meanings, purpose, and the paintings' relationships come to mind when viewing the compositions. These ‘objects’, embedded in an understated way, evoke a sense that levels of alternative interpretation are being offered by the artist.

‘Float’, a 3x4 foot painting positioned at the rear of the exhibition, contains multicoloured imagery - an oversized flathead screw, a paper aeroplane and an odd frame - like structures bleeding through a dense layer of light blue paint.

The piece is as disarming as it is compelling, the colour and scale of the painting enticing you towards the very back of exhibition space. As you draw closer you begin to isolate and distinguish the objects, unconsciously reflecting on their associations. The result is an unsettling tenuous connection between the use of the energetic colour spectrum and unsettling, seemingly perplexing items.

‘Chalice’ also highlights this aspect of the work, containing a gathering of shapes which could be decoded as a measuring flask, a walking stick and a chalice. These elements are brought together and suspended in close proximity, yet some of the items are depicted as an outline and the main chalice piece in negative space.

Personally I appreciated the sensitive use of colour in all of the pieces, but especially in ‘Hooked’. Here the graceful and elegant use of colour had a calming and comforting effect, again the ‘objects’ present but concealed within the mauve tonal range.

Devlin’s propensity to leave some of the compositions vaguely coloured and labelled enables the viewer to form their own opinion on the subject matter, but it is the process of contemplating the possibilities of the work that make for an intriguing exhibition.

Terri McManus