Newman Building, UCD
The paintings of Joan Coen are informed by qualities of time traced across the act of making multiple paintings of a similar form. Whilst these paintings are executed in different conditions, there is a kind of continuous present at play in the work and in how the artist narrates her interests and questions.
The sense of the continuous present implies a fluency that is without the anxiety of recent past or future but also adaptability to the current situation. Certainly with this many paintings carried out there must be by now a form of mental ‘muscle’ memory that supports a continuous present of ongoing freedom of association within a set of co ordinates and momentum. In the continuous present there is a simultaneous thinking and action where one is not sure where a thought will go and that what is in the ‘offing’ is potentially live in the next body of time.
This work is a curiously restless viewing experience but it has seemed valuable to not immediately supply an explanation that might negate the act of looking and considering. However in looking and discussing Joan’s’ work she seems a really effective broker of what is at play in the formation of these paintings and their arrangement. Joan of course has inquiries that range across a philosophical questions. Heidigger is quoted often ….. But there are also some kinds of self-adopted or adapted givens – thinness of paint, scale of work, numbers of works. This is to say that Joan will be present around the works a couple of days a week during her exhibition. Joan has questions to form and ask and discussions and actions to undertake in order to develop new points of vantage.
The paintings are mounted on moveable screens creating an image bank that feel like their own archive. The white screens in their slightly shabby finish speak of work lifted from a location rather than the supports of a corporate framing. Important is the decision to ‘leave them’.