The Cynthia Corbett Gallery pop-up in the Royal Opera Arcade was home to over 100 artworks by Dublin-born Tuëma Pattie. Pattie's verdant landscapes and emotive still lives are extraordinarily evocative. You are left wondering why on earth you haven't come across this spearhead of Irish contemporary art until now?
This confusion is lessened with the understanding that Pattie took time away from painting to raise her children - as was the case for many women of her generation. After a move out of London in 1989, and during her subsequent travels, she encountered new subjects to direct her artistic compass. This has gifted us the remarkable scenes of the Galapagos, Spain, Italy and Antarctica displayed at Cynthia Corbett Gallery.
The gallery curated pieces spanning Pattie's lifetime, illuminating this remarkable artist on an international level. Some highlights included; sketchbooks and pieces from her studies at school, and a gallery wall featuring Pattie's urban scenes alongside blooming still lives and watercolours.
Pattie's strokes of unabashed colour are likened to those of her great aunt, Sarah Purser. Purser was a celebrated portraitist and established her stained glass art company 'An Túr Gloine' in 1903. However, her niece Tuëma's windows are of the painterly kind.
The frames around Pattie's works seem not to enclose a canvas or board, but a glass pane. Through her brushstrokes we are granted a peek into her unique interpretations of the lush Sussex landscape and mountainous Antarctic ice shelves.
"To me, painting has always been an opportunity to interpret imaginatively what I see in front of me. The facts are there - it is how one brings them to life that matters."
The tactile, almost four-dimensional aspect of her work has possibly been informed by Pattie’s studies of jewellery design and book binding at the Belfast College of Art. These physically challenging disciplines require expert craftsmanship and a mastery of materials. It is clear by looking at her scenes that Pattie has an intuitive skill for building a composition through colour. Her expressive, fauve-esq strokes would brighten up any room - and they certainly improved an otherwise drizzly October afternoon.
It is clear by looking at her scenes that Pattie has an intuitive skill for building a composition through colour.
Tuëma is an endlessly fascinating artist with a warm demeanour, whose stories are as vivid as the paintings themselves.
Some of Pattie’s influences – from her childhood to present day visits to Itchner river valley - are discussed in an artist interview. This is shown alongside the works in the exhibition, and can be seen in full on the Cynthia Corbett Gallery Instagram account. The vibrancy of Pattie’s works is surpassed only by the artist’s own spirited personality - it was a joy to speak with her in person. Tuëma is an endlessly fascinating artist with a warm demeanour, whose stories are as vivid as the paintings themselves.
The pop-up exhibition lasted just one week – but the online viewing room can be found here, with some wonderful close up images of the artworks. The digital catalogue is available online here and exhibition highlights can be found via social media. Thank you to Cristina Schek for her installation images of the show.