Cecilia Danell : I set a Bait for the Unknown

6 - 29 August 2020

Cecilia Danell’s paintings are organic, magically playful and densely rich; however, they are also curiously geometric and linear, working off layers of constructed plains and improvised riffs. The artist understands the weight of colours and their manual application. She has been experimenting with different coloured grounds, underpainting the canvas in washes of pink, blue and green. These ghosts of colour infiltrate the atmosphere and character of her depicted scenes. Here and there, we observe references to photography, echoing the distortion of snapshots, demarked by blue borders. Moreover, there is a filmic quality to her paintings, as if she is using the richly saturated hues of early Technicolor to destabilise ‘the real’. Like celluloid film, coated with a light-sensitive gelatin emulsion, Danell’s painted layers find joy in the luminous material properties of oil paint. Diluted mineral spirits seep downward and into the warp of the canvas, resisting sections of thick impasto, rendered in seemingly effortless brushstrokes. Pushing the paint around, wet on wet, occasionally hard and dry, she senses the paint itself, its plasticity, flow and reticence, as it changes from pigment to pigment. Rather than building up the composition in full layers, she works on small sections, preserving and abstracting the drips, with this dappled under-painting becoming another colour map. Borders mark the interrelationship of colour and form, revealing contractions that echo the artist’s deep reading of place. Danell has the confidence in her work to make seemingly counterintuitive decisions. She is making new discoveries as she proceeds, and these are evident in her painting.


Extract from the text ‘I set a Bait for the Unknown’ by Sarah Searson.

Recent exhibitions include:'In a Landscape' (solo) at the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA), Dublin (2019), 'Winter Wanderer' (solo) at Kevin Kavanagh, Dublin (2019), 'Futures - Series 3 Episode 2' at the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA), Dublin (2018), BEEP Painting Biennial, Swansea, UK (2018), 'The Last Wilderness' (solo) at The Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon IE (2017) and Galway Arts Centre IE (2017). Residencies include Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris (2020) and the Nordic Artists’ Centre Dale, Norway (2016). She was a 2017 recipient of the Arts Council Next Generation Award and has received several Arts Council Bursaries and Project Awards as well as the Visual Artists Ireland & Suki Tea Art Prize (2019) and the Wexford Arts Centre Emergence Award (2011). A publication on Danell's work with an essay by Sue Rainsford was launched in March 2017. Her work is represented in the collections of the Office of Public Works, Trinity College Dublin, Kelly’s Hotel, Rosslare, Wexford County Council, Galway County Council and Motala Municipal Council, Sweden as well as private collections in Ireland, UK, Sweden and Norway.