Jonny McEwen's New Solo

The content of McEwen's new work is eloquently revealed. There is no blatant parading or grandstanding designed to seduce the casual viewer, rather there is an expectation that when the initial pleasure of seeing these works passes, the true quality will only unfold and reveal itself through a calm, concentrated viewing. As you step up to the mark to do this, the instinct on first viewing is of pleasure. Perhaps because the cool, light colours sparked with dark seem almost calmly and familiarly impressionist or perhaps because McEwen uses a horizon with faint echoes of landscape-type elements – and this initial familiarity is satisfying in itself, seeming to put the work firmly within a familiar context. However, this work is not at all about traditional landscape set in familiar contexts, it is about something else altogether. In McEwen's landscape there is an absence of human touch or human interaction – he is caught up totally in the landscapes changing skies and its shifting light and moods. McEwen was an active "friend of the earth" long before the bandwagon rolled and he cares deeply about landscape and the role that humanity plays in seeking always to mould the physical environment to its will. For McEwen this work is about finding a new meaning in Irish landscape, of somehow reinventing its landscape for himself. The line, shape and colours have changed since his last two solo shows in The Hallward Gallery in Dublin and in the Caldwell Gallery eighteen months ago. It is almost a seasonal palette change from autumn to spring, but more than that, it is a move from landscape observed as a subject to landscape experienced as an event. (Chris Caldwell - The Tom Caldwell Gallery, Belfast) McEwen's new solo opens on the 12th September 2007 at Caldwell's Lisburn Road, Belfast Gallery.