Paddy Lennon’s landscapes place him in the very front rank of Irish painters. There is a still, sombre and mysterious quality in many of them, and, to use a term of David Brett’s in relation to Paul Henry, an ‘emptiness’ devoid of human activity. But Lennon’s are paintings that depict the Irish typography in a manner which is as far from Paul Henry’s rural landscapes as may be imagined; yet the loneliness, the emptiness, that is one of the principal rhetorical features of Henry’s paintings of the west of Ireland, is also, I feel, one of Lennons, whose own particular loneliness is a poetic comment on how water, bogland, rock and sky have inspired him.
His works are, by and large, serene and soothing; his brushstokes are masterful, his colours vibrant. His images, ofter merely hinted at, ask for metaphorical readings of his work. I find a constant tension in his landscapes between the various elements in whatever scene that has caught his eye and engaged his soul, be they the wetness of brown bogland, the harshness of the rocky fields with which man has wrestled for untold ages to conquer, or the merest glimpse of a still sea in the distance. His is a deep investigation into what it is in the landscape that invests it with the emotional resonance that attracted him to it. You must decode these processes for yourself, and figure out what it is that gave him the impulse to depict a particular scene as he has done.
He now paints in a studio, and his stimuli are sometimes colour photographs, sometimes memory, but above and beyond all else, intuition. That intuition never fails him; he creates, just as, for instance, Cezanne did in his studies of Provence, emotional resonances that attract you and remain with you.
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