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Award-winning author helps launch Limerick exhibition of works by painter and master printer

BOOKER Prize-winning author John Banville made a special appearance in Limerick for the launch of In A Liminal State, a retrospective exhibition featuring the work of painter and master printer Stephen Lawlor.

On view at the Hunt Museum through July 3, the exhibition explores many of the artworks featured in Gandon’s recently released publication “Profile 29: Stephen Lawlor.”

Born in Dublin in 1958, Stephen has exhibited and worked regularly in Sweden, Belgium and China. His figurative images can border on abstraction but there is always a strong link with the history of European painting.

His use of light and his focus on the past make his work instantly recognizable. Images of women began to appear in his work after a strange encounter in 2004.

His recent paintings have been described as “like a Dutch master on acid” and can seem far removed from the spectral figures of Geisha or Royal in his prints, locked in the liquid black of their inky spaces.

In his introduction to Profile No. 29, author John Banville states: “Considering the paintings and prints of Stephen Lawlor, I am struck by the relevance of this notion of an art that makes visible the invisible space of air… This world exists, in these works, in a liminal state, strangely resistant to the grasp of the eye and yet completely palpable, completely there. Looking at one of his canvases, one finds oneself drawn deeper and deeper into a landscape – or “landscape” – sumptuous but uncertain, both familiar and ineffably mysterious. It’s a magical, slightly strange feeling; you seem lost in a forest, a garden, a shady cityscape, under a turbulent sky of gold and shadow that seems more solid, more grounded than the ground you walk on.

Commenting on the exhibition, Jill Cousins, Director of the Hunt Museum, commented: “In a Liminal State is a fascinating study of the influences on Stephen’s work. The exhibit contains gems from his early period as well as more current work, many of which give you feelings of tension and unease. You are in an uncertain place or space.

Several prints and paintings by Stephen Lawlor are available for purchase ranging from €160 to €9,000 as well as copies of Profile #29.

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