Kerlin Gallery is pleased to present Them, an exhibition of new painting, sculpture and work on paper by Guggi.
Across paintings on canvas and paper, the artist builds up fields of intense colour layered with the bold, curving outlines of simple vessels and smudgy, broken crosses. Meanwhile, in the titular painting, Them, two linear forms ascend on the left-hand side of the picture plane – abstract and totem-like motifs that represent the artist’s late parents. Layered over four pencil-drawn bowls, a gossamer wash of white paint, and the coarse, jagged finish of the paper itself, the figures enter a dynamic but harmonious relationship with shape, line, gesture, and colour.
'Them' also includes four small, whitewashed urns – the kind of meditatively simple common objects of utility that have formed the subject matter of Guggi’s paintings for decades.
Over the past three decades, Guggi has achieved recognition for his drawing, painting and sculpture using the quotidian beauty of household objects to reflect on the human experience. Through his expressive use of shape, line, gesture, and colour, he imbues simplified everyday objects with great emotional resonance and feeling. Described by the artist as his most auto-biographical exhibition yet, Them sees the artist’s established forms and techniques applied to a deeply personal subject matter – the recent loss of his parents – presenting us with an exhibition of diverse media and emotional range. Rich in poetic expression, the works in Them invite us to reflect on memory, the passing of time, familial bonds, and the objects that tell the stories of our lives.
'Robbie and me'
In new works of mixed media, Guggi’s signature motifs of boldly simplified utilitarian objects appear on large-scale photographs documenting the home of his late father, Robbie. The house and its surroundings in Robertstown are a treasure trove of Robbie’s life, filled with the vast array of objects he accumulated: among them dozens of cars, motorbikes, bicycles, truck containers, a rusty van with his name on it, and the stock from his bicycle wholesale business. Guggi has extensively photographed this fascinating personal archive, capturing his father’s passion for “anything on wheels” before layering the images with painted forms.
The result is a poetic bricolage and a unique collaboration between father and son.
b. 1959, Dublin, Ireland.
Guggi lives and works in Dublin.
An artist working with drawing, painting and sculpture, Guggi digs deep into a personal yet universal subject matter: the quotidian beauty of household objects. He committedly revisits his signature motifs of bowls, jugs and vessels, using repetition and abstraction to conjure an almost meditative state. In his paintings and works on paper, their forms appear tentative: broken outlines against resonant washes of abstract colour. And yet when Guggi continues his investigations as sculpture, these humble instruments are bestowed with a renewed majesty and power: polished bronze or fibreglass forms that seem to harness and heighten energy, with the simplicity and timelessness of prehistoric artefacts. Connecting both approaches is a sense of openness and fluidity, an attentiveness to prosaic details. “By salvaging beauty from distress, soulfulness from fragmentation,” writes historian and art critic Kelly Grovier, “Guggi creates objects from another world … Fragile yet enduring, they echo an esoteric tradition of shattered urns, jars, and cups that date back centuries – perennial metaphors for the breaking of forms necessary for the release of creativity.”
A former member of the post-punk band Virgin Prunes, Guggi’s work can be found in the collections of the National Gallery of Ireland; the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Château La Coste, France and Akureyri Art Museum, Iceland. In recent years, he has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Château La Coste, Aix-en-Provence (2023); Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris (2022), Yoshii Gallery, New York; Galerie 75 Fauborg, Paris (both 2021); Kerlin Gallery, Dublin; Yoshii Gallery, Tokyo and Arcane Space, Los Angeles (all 2019).