‘Detonation’ presents a new strong series of paintings by artist on the rise Karl Hagan, inspired by images of bomb tests, observations on the destructive power of explosions, and reflections upon past and present threats to societies.
All these paintings depict nuclear explosions, and when brought together they can form a loose sequence, from an initial large fireball to a mushroom cloud and the gradual dispersion of the vapour. Figurative and more realistic images are alternated with semi-abstract or abstract compositions, the first clearly representing the others only evoking the different phases. The effect is a gradual lessening, and at times almost disappearance of the sense of threat and danger that nuclear explosions pose. Yet, the titles of the works and of the exhibition keep reminding us of their catastrophic destructive power.
Hagan’s starting point for developing imagery and reflections leading to creating this series, were photographs and videos of US bomb tests in the Nevada desert and in the Pacific during the 1950s. While these happened at a time when the threat of destruction by nuclear bombs was prevalent, the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction continues to be present today.
Another important reference for Hagan were the writer Italo Calvino’s considerations about the search for lightness in literature to present life as bearable without denying the weight of living. Drawing a parallel with art, Hagan intends to convey a lightness in the explosions’ visual spectacle, while presenting us with the unfathomable weight of their power and destruction.
This series of paintings can thus elicit a range of responses from viewers who can perceive the danger and threat of the explosions while being drawn by the works’ captivating visual qualities or focus on one or the other.
‘Detonation’ is curated by Francesca Biondi and Karl Hagan.
This solo exhibition can be viewed at gallery545.com Gallery 545’s curated e-commerce website.
Gallery 545 is an online and pop-up gallery specialising in contemporary art of Northern Ireland and offering a special selection of affordable artworks and fine art prints created by talented artists based here.
The gallery celebrates the creativity of emerging and more established artists across the region and supports their practice providing a curated platform where they can showcase and sell their works. Having an online presence, but also pop-up exhibitions, the gallery brings art to a wide range of people with different tastes and budgets who love contemporary art, making it easier for them to access, discover and collect art works. Gallery 545 also offers advisory services and private viewing at their office in Belfast city centre (subject to government movement restrictions with Covid-19).
Further information from: Francesca Biondi, Art Director & Curator, Gallery 545 – email@example.com
Office at Blick Studios,
30-42 Waring Street,
Belfast BT1 2ED