Green Seeks Little Attention

David Egan

05.11.2021 - 04.12.2021

Green Seeks Little Attention is a solo exhibition by David Egan for Haydens, which presents new paintings alongside existing works from the past four years. The exhibition is punctuated by a series of short texts by the artist and writer Aodhan Madden. Central to the exhibition is a reconfigured version of Crying Room (2019), a recent installation which approximates a church’s crying room—the segregated viewing chamber which quarantines leaky parishioners (crying children, mourners, overwhelmed believers), whilst still allowing for remote participation in church ritual. For the presentation at Haydens, the walls of Crying Room are shuffled apart, made to be open-plan—an impotent room. This sense of things losing their edges—breaking down into pieces, becoming fragmented—permeates the exhibition. Burrowing weeds open cracks in foundations, bodies are exploded into chains of cells, colours mystically flicker and blend.

Each painting in the exhibition is a painting of a flower in some way. A flower might signify just about anything at all besides a flower. The language of flowers: coded colours, wilting innuendo. One flower cowers on a bench. It’s being told off, or it feels guilty about something. It clears its throat, but it can’t speak, it’s a flower. It just sits on the bench feeling sorry for itself, embarrassed by all the innuendo and the garish colours. Bunches of colour are everywhere. Red sweeps the floor, the walls are yellowing, the flowers feel blue, and green is evasive. Some flowers are like cabbage ears, unfurling to hear the florist gossip. Some flowers purport to be angels pedalling passage between the worlds. Some flowers are thirsty, and others are cagey. Green seeks little attention. A little, maybe.

David Egan was raised in a Charismatic Catholic Community in Perth. As an indoctrinated child he practiced resting in the spirit, speaking in tongues, and the gift of prophetic visions. David’s painting practice emerges through the ground of this murky personal history, which is riven with internal contradictions. His work takes a damningly critical view of the coercive and abusive power of the Church, whilst remaining entangled with fond memories and an indebtedness to its mystic aesthetic traditions. This personal history is never reduced to a straightforward narrative or political statement, as just before the moment when this reduction seems likely to occur, colour blessedly intervenes as an obfuscating force.

Green Seeks Little Attention constitutes the examinable exhibition outcome of David’s PhD research project for Monash University. His exegesis under examination is titled A Writte Palette: Conceptual and Emotional Approaches to Handling Colour in Painting.

Images courtesy Christo Crocker, Christian Capurro, and the gallery

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