b. 1979, Dublin, Ireland
Aleana Egan's art is predominantly intuitive and subjective; she uses simple materials, assembled or barely transformed, to create enigmatic works that have a restrained tone and structure. She groups these pieces into installations that are oddly ambivalent; on the one hand she draws our attention to the way things look, how they settle, sag, curve, or hang; on the other, her forms and shapes act as traces or memories, and as a tentative articulation of shifting responses to remembered places or everyday moments. Gaps and absences are at the heart of what Egan does, and this is what makes her work a little puzzling. Similarly, her frequent literary and historical allusions, which are never explained, are reticent and elliptic.
Her works evolve through a series of stages, with each successive layer gaining a density until the final form emerges, coherent and cogent, yet insistently resisting the stamp of the finite. Her practice is dominated by a meandering, sensuous line which carries through into the fluid way in which her films are made and suggests a condition of flux. When the line is filled to form a plane and to become a receptacle, it is still kept open, to collect snow or rain water, as in, for example, In Their Order of Appearance, 2010, made for the Sculpture Center in New York.
Egan often works with very crude materials such as cardboard, plaster and concrete, and her sculptures are painted with carefully mixed, very matt colours. The rawness and openness of the sentiment or idea that triggered the work is embodied by these carefully manipulated materials. Egan does not wish to tell stories or make grand gestures but to find appropriate forms to engender psychological states and memories.
Recent solo exhibitions include: A House and Its Head, Kerlin Gallery, Dublin, (2017); Shapes from life, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, Ireland, (2015); The Sensitive Plant, Kerlin Gallery, Dublin, (2013); day wears, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, Ireland (2012); Sunday Night, Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin, (2009); Space for the man whose keys I rescued, Art Basel Statements, Basel, Switzerland (2009); and We sat down where we had sat before, Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland, (2008). Recent group exhibitions include: Shadowplay, Kerlin Gallery, Dublin, (2019); Dorothy Cross, Aleana Egan, Siobhán Hapaska, Isabel Nolan, Kathy Prendergast, Kerlin Gallery, Dublin, (2018); Marian Cramer Projects, Amsterdam; Project Space Tilburg, The Netherlands (both 2017); 186th Annual Exhibition, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, (2016); CCA Derry (2015); Kettles Yard, University of Cambridge, UK, (2015); Vestibule, a large-scale public commission, Merrion Square, Dublin (2014); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, (2013); Sculpture Center, New York (2010); Landesmuseum Münster, Germany, (2010) and the 5th Berlin Biennale, Berlin and Kunsthalle zu Kiel, (2008).