Reluctance to identify themselves as something particular or recognisable means Felim Egan's paintings can take on a variety of forms and characters, ready to represent different things to different people: buildings and sculptures, rocks and water. Music: a visual score played across the surface of the canvas, played with brushes and paint mixed with ground stone, scenes that can be heard as well as seen.
In placing the various visual components upon these expanses of colour, our minds begin to make connotations with natural ‘canvases’ of our own reality: Sea and sky, fields and beaches, even vast spaces of concrete. We try to ascribe recognisable features to them with the aid of the colours provided; aim to ‘know’ what are presented as essentially ‘unknowable’ places. To do so is to enter into a dialogue with the piece, to look beyond what is simply presented to us in order to discover more through our own interpretations. The works do not proclaim any dramatic statements but quietly invite debate.
Square portions of paint or wax, often executed in tones that stand out against the earthy hues that surround them are arranged in groups upon the canvas in a manner that suggests order but still does not provide any definitive explanation. Some stand alone in solitary corners, their presence tied in with the rest of the piece by thin crescent lines that sweep across the surface, highlighting the lyrical quality of the composition. Their bright visual presence is heightened by the almost three dimensional quality of the paint that forms their backdrop. Egan often mixes his paint with sand or ground stone, creating a medium that highlights brushstrokes and can appear both gritty and delicate.
This technique also strengthens the bond that many feel exists between his work and the natural world. It is no secret that the artist has lived much of his life close to the sea in his native Ireland, surrounded by nature at its most explicit. Other colours, including reds, browns, greens and golds, emphasise this sense of earthiness, combining with the rough texture of the paint to fashion an almost tangible link to soil, vegetation and sand. The surface of the piece, we realise, is not flat at all: the nature of the medium allows other lines, shapes and details to emerge, slowly taking form as though growing towards light or rising through water.