Mapping the Peripheral

Oliver Sears Gallery is delighted to reopen with Mapping the Peripheral, an exhibition of new paintings by Donald Teskey.

In February of last year, Donald Teskey returned to his studio in Dublin from the west coast of County Mayo after filming for The Works Presents RTÉ programme. He had planned on developing a new series of paintings based on drawings and photos that he had made in Mayo. After such trips, his normal practice, involves working up paintings on a larger scale back in the studio...

Further visits to the same landscape usually ensue until a body of coherent work is completed. No one could have foreseen the months that followed, with unprecedented travel restrictions and the imposition of lockdown. Teskey instinctively paused the process of completing the coastline paintings and decided to shift his attention to the narrow radius of the permitted 2km and then 5km limit from his home in South Dublin.

This strange, unsettling and previously unimaginable period, and eleven weeks of almost unnaturally glorious Spring weather, saw Teskey return to the subject of streetscapes and to the body of work made around the River Dodder that he began in 2018. With the temporary reprieve in the Summer, Teskey seized the opportunity to return to Mayo and, for ten days, refreshed his Winter memory of the ocean and coastal landscape.

What transpired was unusually transformative. Having spent a long career embedded in the landscape, it was the first time that Teskey saw the predictability of the sea and land as a metaphor for instability. The pursuant paintings of waves crashing against rock came to symbolize the erosion and washing away of everything we know to be true by an immutable force, foreign to us and more powerful than we understand.

In some respects, Teskey has found himself redefining old boundaries, the parameters we set ourselves over time, in order to represent a year of changed living.