Exhibition Catalogue

Soul in Search of a Canvas


“Brian Fogarty is, above all, a powerful and original image maker. Weird and hallucinogenic, like tripping on drugs, yet on its own terms so solid and real, much of his work is so intense, mesmerising, convoluted, it becomes a prison for the eye.”
(David Mclean, on Facebook)

“A painting can suggest, with storms of brushstrokes, that it’s more desirable to be touched violently than never to be touched at all.”
(David Lawton in Brian Fogarty’s novel “Red over Blue”)


catalogueWho we are cannot be apprehended by the eye alone, whether human, a camera, or a mirror. Sometimes the hand of the artist can show us someone who, with a shock, we recognise as ourselves, but which has not been revealed so rawly, nakedly, beautifully before. We all have a dozen faces, not all of them entirely human, which seem to shift into one another as the moments go by, even though we may not be consciously changing our expression. We all experience joy and suffering, and many of us occupy visionary, psychologically, or socially, extreme and lonely ground for much or most of our waking and dreaming lives.

We can’t talk about this to anyone, (especially not to so-called ‘experts’ such as counsellors, psychiatrists or psychologists who would destroy us in their efforts to ‘cure’ us of our ‘illness’ of being fully aware and alive), but we can read and write novels, poetry, compose music, dance and sing, act, paint pictures.

The kind of portrait I want to paint if I could would usurp the canvas, wreck it as if a ruined building had fallen on it, or I had messed around with the narrator of “Hunger”, one of “The Brothers Karamazov” or Prince Mishkin’s nemesis Rogozhin in “The Idiot”, somehow trying to wrestle some plausible image of them onto the support.

If ever I can walk around the rim of a volcano that has apparently lain extinct or dormant for thousands of years with the expectation that this is the very day scientists predict it to erupt again I’ll do so in the hope that some of the lava would scorch my canvas, burn holes in it. This journey only allows me the kind of calm in my life normally found in the eye of a storm. And calm there must at times be, for no artist, even one whose passion makes him a force of nature, can cut off an ear every day.

How about you? What would you do? If you were lying in the gutter dying, one loaded brush or can of spray paint in your hand, watching your own blood spill out onto the road; if you had one last chance to paint the piece that let the world know who you are and just what you think of this little life, what would you paint, what marks would you make: more of the same, or something new – the kind of art that can save your soul?

“Rational observation alone cannot take me to the deeper, visionary truth I seek which whilst of the material, lies beyond it.”
(Brian Fogarty in an interview with the performance artist and filmmaker Lucy Chang, whilst discussing his approach to painting his portrait of the actress Scarlett Johansson)

“I love him whose soul is deeper than the wound”
(Friedrich Nietzsche)

Front cover portrait of Kate Moss
by Brian Fogarty 2009
(acrylic on canvas 10″x12″)

Paperback (printed on special, high quality silk paper), 200 pages, £30.00

ISBN 978-0-9534456-7-7
Oyster Press, PO Box 395, Brighton BN50 9GJ

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by clicking here: Soul in Search of a Canvas


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Website by Michael J. Stewart