Ramon Kassam’s self-referential attitude to painting includes third-person narratives and thematic world-building. His artworks are permeated with tactics and tropes that enliven storytelling through painting and display. In his most recent work, Kassam indulges an appetite of painterly fantasy, dreaming up a contemporary Irish painting folklore that connects reality with a fictional analogous universe.
The unmediated, occasionally unruly visual language of cities, suburbs and rural towns allows Kassam to mirror certain aspects of local and national identity within his own artistic vocabulary. It is not only the aesthetics of these chance juxtapositions that excite, but also the way a cultural style or character can be formed by the clash of heritage with branding, and artistic trends with legacy. Strategically combining colour, abstract forms and sometimes figurative imagery, Kassam creates arrangements that at times replicate studio accidents and experimentation. Each painting is also ingrained with its own individual history of failure, revision and resilience, with elements and layers added, removed, repainted, adjusted, and ascertained until it is complete.
In this exhibition, Kassam imagines paintings originating from the site of Temple Bar Gallery + Studios in an alternative present-time, where it is no longer in use and is approaching dereliction. Rather than pondering on this motif as something melancholic or pessimistic, Kassam’s intent is to romantically honour and celebrate painting and the physical spaces that facilitate and activate it. This is accomplished through playful canvases, architectural and digital intervention and a refined approach to presentation.
Ramon Kassam’s solo exhibitions include Green on Red Gallery, Dublin (2018 and 2016), Limerick City Gallery of Art (2015), Pallas Projects, Dublin (2013). He has also participated in group exhibitions at Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan, USA; Glucksman, Cork; EVA International, Limerick. He was awarded the inaugural Next Generation award from the Arts Council (2016), and formerly held a Project Studio in TBG+S in 2015.
Artist Talk: Ramon Kassam will be in conversation in the gallery with our Programme Curator, Michael Hill, Wednesday 3rd August 2022, 6pm.
Temple Bar Gallery + Studios
5-9 Temple Bar, Dublin 2, D02 AC84, Ireland