‘Through living Roots Awaken’ at Anima Mundi Gallery
8 April – 21 May 2022
The human figure remains central to Curneen’s work; however, these are beings which transcend prosaic, corporeal constraint and conformity, whilst never fully escaping such concerns. They occupy a symbolic, liminal, precarious space where the flesh and the other seemingly become one and time stands still. Gender is ambiguous and identity uniform or archetypal. The form is shown naked, not in carnal splendour but in a state of ease and innocence. They are enigmatic and evocative, as if quietly distracted from a moment of contemplation which suggests both openness and introversion, strength and vulnerability and a oneness with self, nature and the divine. Qualities such as tranquillity, gentleness, compassion, and love are sensibilities that all Curneen’s figures embody and express, yet a complex drama is achieved through this stillness and simplicity. Arguably Curneen’s visual form of expression draws upon the iconography of her childhood in Ireland. The imagery and practices she experienced growing up remain embedded. Her studio wall is covered with reproductions of Renaissance paintings, whose subjects provide direct inspirational osmosis as a reminder of how nothing more than simple pose and gesture can be used to convey both mortal acceptance and spiritual devotion. Usually violent images of martyrdom, instead delicately evoke a capacity to both surrender and to overcome. Blood oozes precious, anointing the flesh in sacred gold. Other works have a shamanic almost votive quality, entwined with nature and equally dependent upon it.