The first solo exhibition in Ireland of the work of the leading New York-based, Irish artist and illustrator Brian Cronin opens to the public at the Irish Museum of Modern Art on Wednesday 1 April. Brian Cronin: Fat Face with Fork comprises some 300 works and ranges from commercial drawings, commissioned by such prestigious publications as The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal and Time, to personal pieces exploring subconscious manifestations of the human condition. Cronin sees this interrelation between his commercial and personal work and the progression of ideas from one body of drawings to the other as key features of his work. “A specific commissioned illustration involves a chain of ideas, which in turn can be taken to a new level of form and meaning in my personal work.”
A characteristic example of this process is Fat Face with Fork, from which the exhibition takes it name. This work started out as a commission for Newsweek, but never appeared as another news story (Mother Teresa’s death) was breaking. “Blowing up this small editorial drawing, redrawing it in sections, cropping and overlapping the images and pasting them together, as in a billboard poster, gives it a new meaning. The inflation of scale from small editorial illustration to large-scale painting gives the work an horrific, surreal quality suggesting numerous interpretations.” Cronin describes his personal works as being “generated from an overflow of information, giving rise to images that have developed from bits of information broken and disjointed, like a bad connection on a telephone or listening in on part of a conversation. They are more like rumours of ideas than fully developed ideas.”
Born in Dublin in 1958, Brian Cronin studied at the National College of Art, graduating with a BSc in 1981. For some years he worked as a free-lance illustrator, mainly for The Irish Times and In Dublin. In 1985 he moved to New York where his work for a large number of highly-regarded publications has made him one of the most sought-after illustrators in America. His work has been shown in countless exhibitions in New York and in the UK, Italy, Switzerland and Japan and in several cities throughout Ireland.
Brian Cronin: Fat Face with Fork is on show at the Irish Museum of Modern Art from 1 April to 1 June 1998.
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