03.08.-04.09.2024

Shadow Flowers

Letizia Werth

Letizia Werth, feinart berlin, Berlin, Shadow Flowers, drawing, ink, painting, exhibition

12.09.-24.10.2024

S A T U R N A L I A

Conor Walton

**Opening reception during BERLIN ART WEEK**
Thursday, 12.09. 18:00-21:00

The Saturnalia, according to tradition the most popular festival in ancient Rome, still stand for exuberance, abundance, the exercised pleasure in the whole realm of the sensual and the suspension of class boundaries (slaves were treated as equals). Named after the venue, the temple of the god Saturn, they were also a ritual in honour of this god of sowing and reaping and the father of the mythical Golden Age. Three reasons lead from here to the title "SATURNALIA" for an exhibition of paintings by Conor Walton, one of Ireland's leading contemporary painters of international renown: the allegorical fantasy, the realism of sensuality, the provocation of the absurd.

Allegorical fantasy. Conor Walton studied art history alongside fine art with a Masters degree from the University of Essex and has an immense knowledge of the history of motifs and ideas. Following the figures and scenes of his often large-scale allegorical oil paintings, as in the title image of the exhibition "Allegory of Wisdom" (2023), and their references to mythological ideas reaching far into the history of art, each of them opens up a world rich in imagination and knowledge.

Realism of sensuality. Walton's "Bread & Butter Paintings" depict individual foodstuffs such as pieces of butter, grapes, pumpkins, loaves of bread and chocolate bars. The masterly realistic depiction of these still lifes tells of a love for these supposedly insignificant objects, their colours and sensuous forms. However, the painter does not romanticise the things, for he repeatedly also aesthetically stages the aluminium foil and plastic bags that clothe these things in the age of conservation and synthetics.

Provocation of the absurd. Since he had children, Walton has been integrating toys into his pictures: Batman, Superman, T-Rex, medieval knights, zoos of animals from a wide variety of regions, ladies in courtly garb and many more. Wherever they appear, an alien species seems to play its game with pictures familiar to us, ironising the world we call reality. When Walton places a toy dinosaur and a toy astronaut next to an Old Master composition of pear and grape in „Keeping Things in Perspective“ (2015), he allows the history of our planet to converge on a tabletop.

"I see myself as a figurative painter in the European tradition, attempting to maintain my craft at the highest level, using paint to explore issues of truth, meaning and value. All my paintings are attempted answers to the three questions in the title of Gauguin’s famous painting: Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?“ (Conor Walton)

About the artist

Born in Ireland in 1970 Conor Walton trained at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin and under Charles Cecil in Florence, Italy. He holds a Masters Degree in Art History and Theory (awarded with Distinction) from the University of Essex. He has lectured at the National Gallery of Ireland, University College Dublin, the Royal Hibernian Academy, Laguna College of Art and Design, the New Museum, Los Gatos, and been Artist in Residence at California Lutheran University. He has attended The Representational Art Conference (TRAC) both as demonstration artist and guest speaker. Among the solo exhibitions of Walton are museum shows for example at the National Portrait Gallery (London), MEAM (Barcelona), The National Gallery of Ireland, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, the American University Museum (Washington DC) and the WMOCA (Wisconsin). The painter has won numerous awards for his work including the Gino De Agrò International Award (2022), the Ismail Lulani International Award (2019), ModPortrait 2017, Arc Salon 2014/15 (Still Life), Portrait Ireland 2005 and the "Lorenzo il Magnifico" International Award (1999). 

Conor Walton lives and works in Wicklow, Ireland.