Sean Molloy

  • United Kingdom (b. 1964)
  • Currently in Dublin, Ireland.


Landscape with peasant woman

Landscape with peasant woman

  • 2016
  • Oil on Wood
  • 30.5 x 22.5 cm
  • Glitch Fable  - thumbnail Glitch Landscape II - thumbnail Landscape with peasant woman - thumbnail Landscape with horseman - thumbnail Chemin de Temps  - thumbnail

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    Baroque re-imagining | 2014 - 2017

As a painter, Sean Molloy's key concern is to investigate the relevance of painting in a digitally-mediated world. This body of work, which has emerged out of a two-year time period, has been constructed through a process of experimenting with a series of traditional baroque-inspired themes, spliced together with over-painted elements associated with digital-based imagery. The traditional elements have been appropriated from sources within the Dutch, Spanish, Flemish and Italian baroque painting canon, combined and juxtaposed to create a series of capriccio-type fantasy scenes and miniature tondo portraits. The digital elements overlaying these have been inspired by a variety of sources (C.G.I., games, image manipulation software, glitch-art, etc.). 'Pentimenti' refers to the underlying mark-making, choices and corrections that the painter would make, usually discovered by restorers, and now, even more accurately, through the technology of reflectography. 'Pentimenti' also reveal when the painter's original work has been later over-painted, often in response to socio-political, moral or fashion imperatives – or simply through complacent restoration. Thus the 'definitive' (often canonical) work reveals itself as something which is not a solid given, but the outcome of a fluid, changing dynamic. In today's world, there is also a certain impermanence to digital images – they can be deleted easily, they degrade over time, we can alter and manipulate them up as we wish. Molloy's initial access to most of the reference material explored in these paintings was via the internet. With the assistance of a Thomas Dammann Jr. Memorial Trust Award, he was also able to travel to see the actual works of the baroque canon in situ. This offered him the opportunity not just to examine the works close up, but also to make mental comparisons between the digital versions and the original works ‒ a process of analysis, deconstruction and de-composition which he then mapped on to the actual making of the paintings. In the sometimes ludicrous extremes of the high baroque (e.g., Pietro da Cortona), viewers were offered an illusion of total immersion in a painted world – echoing the immersive experience presented at any moment today through a variety of digital portals. In these works, Molloy seeks to create 'Neo-Pentimenti' – deliberate corrections, alterations, interventions and degradings/decompositions of the paintings underneath. By using the over-painted elements to disturb the three-dimensional painterly illusion created by the brush-stroke, he introduces visual interventions which both repel and attract the viewer's attention, creating a new aesthetic to subvert the often didactic and singular reading that traditional figurative painting presents.