The Liminal Space: Carol Anne McGowan, David O’Kane, Eamon O’Kane

2 July - 1 August 2015
Installation Views
Press release

Gallery Baton is pleased to present The Liminal Space, the group exhibition of Ireland painters, from 2st July to 1st August 2015.


The Liminal Space brings together the artwork of three Irish artists, Carol Anne McGowan (b. 1983), David O’Kane (b. 1985) and Eamon O’Kane (b. 1974). These three artists, work predominantly in the medium of painting. The title of the exhibition refers to the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that can occur in time, space and beings.


Etymologically, the word ‘liminality’ is derived from the latin word ‘limen’ meaning ‘threshold’; an uncertain and uncanny place that exists between territories, which are defined by thought. It is particularly apt to describe the potentialities inherent in the process of creating and experiencing paintings. Paintings are always in the process of becoming. Even when a painting is complete and displayed in an exhibition the viewer brings their own unique array of associations to the context surrounding the painting and adds to it over time. The context and relationship to other artworks in the gallery may induce a liminal state within the viewer.


Carol Anne McGowan’s Theatre of Memory (2015) are revealed only through the performative gestures of their disembodied hands. They appear to be engaged in a type of gambling game, with a field of play but without an object. The absent or removed object opens up the connotations of this field. The ritualistic and performative aspect is emphasised. They enter into the black box of the unknown, losing all identity to become pure performance. They are playing with their own anonymity.


The Panopticon Pool (2015) series of paintings, by David O’Kane, plays with a disused water tank, recast metaphorically as a microcosm of metaphysical experience. It is a kind of psychological panorama, where the figure of the self portrait as ‘other’ is imprisoned between structure and chaos and within time through repetition. The state could be experienced as positive or negative immersion in the imagination of the inescapable self. A self that is in turn generated by that same imagination and which fluctuates through and between this virtuous or vicious, viscous circle.


In the interiors, which exemplify the dichotomies that run throughout Eamon O'Kane's practice, the artist plays with a space of liminality between the inside and the outside; the natural and the manmade; the utopian and dystopian of the rural retreat; the distant view which resists closer inspection; civilisation and its antithesis; artifice and the natural order. The figure is always conspicuously absent, inviting the viewer across an impossible threshold.