Art : Tom Climent: A Place Found, Nash 19 Sternview, Cork

Tom Climent has built a solid reputation for paintings that seduce the eye, and compositions that smoulder with theatrical tension and atmosphere.

The energy and expressiveness of early work has come to be replaced by a calmer and more contemplative mood, as the artist now utilises subtle layering of muted colour and texture. Indeed, this collection of oil on canvas paintings suggests the artist is at his peak.

Climent’s subject matter centres on anonymous architectural forms that rest within spatial environments that are correspondingly indistinct and remote. The structures imply a fortress or barricades devoid of any sense of human presence.

Any such urge however to apply a rational logic to these paintings and turn them into recognisable subjects, is in ways, not part of the deal. First and foremost they are a celebration of shape and colour and in purely sensory terms, Climent’s paintings are not unlike the colour-field abstraction of Joseph Albers or Mark Rothko. The main difference being the artists’ trademark ‘flatness’ is folded by Climent into a representation of solidity through a series of intricate, origami manoeuvres carried out by some unseen force.

This notion that a higher power rendered the forms that Climent paints, seems oddly appropriate, as there is monumentality to the relatively larger works on show. When these structures soar upwards — especially in the beautiful Haida — they scaffold tantalising flashes of iridescent colour that draws the eye to their pinnacle, making the paintings seem not only older, but evenlarger than their modest dimensions suggest.

Star Rating: 4/5

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