Rayleen Clancy / Star Stuff @ Joan Clancy Gallery
Review In The Munster Express
28th July, 2015
Nothing prepared me for the explosion of colour and ideas, as images in the Clancy Gallery on the edge of the Ring peninsula. This bijou gallery with a balcony opening out onto Dungarvan Bay. This new solo exhibition Star Stuff by Rayleen Clancy explodes and implodes with energy and celestial possibility. I could feel the inspiration that the artist must have felt as she stood on a hillside looking into the heavens and at the same time exploring her memory banks to begin producing such an impressive exhibition.
There is so much to take in with thirty paintings in oil and mixed media. Two focal images dominate the room; one is of the artist's mother, Joan as Mnemosyne, the Greek goddess of memory or collective memory (as well as being mother of the Nine Muses in mythology). There is a suggestion of spiritual or religious memory with a geodesic crystal ball framing the head like a halo. The mother figure is framed in familiar family things like daffodils and flora from the surrounding area. The right foot is hidden by a white domestic cat, and the left foot wears a sparkly shoe done in dots of light and colour.
Many of the paintings use circles or dots of light and 'bullets' of light that reminded me of the way dots of light take on a moving, magical presence in Song of the Sea from Cartoon Saloon. Impact Crater had a splash of aquamarine that broods in a seascape or landscape, and Milky Way had orange clusters that seemed to explode one way but look again or shift your point of view and the image would appear to implode. Primordial had a beautiful celestial presence yet Chromosphere could be life and colour in a petrie dish.
Rayleen Clancy has a self-portrait - Beacon Strategy, in two sections of canvas (one on top of another); the face is in repose, in light, dreaming, absorbing and being absorbed by memory, thoughts and visions - visions of stars; night skies over Helvick Head or other places that have shaped the artist's life, youth, and fascination with art making. The hair radiates up and out, knotted, tangled, twisted, concealing and secreting green bubbles of eco-energy, like a cosmos in your head or electrified in your hair.