IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS ‘Buttercup Light’, by Pauline Garavan.
Pauline Garavan’s exhibition ‘Seeing Earth’ is currently on show at the Custom House Studios Gallery at the Quay in Westport. It’s a must see for anyone who has ever wondered at the natural world, and anyone who has an appreciation for beauty in the detail. It also has a powerful message.
On entering the gallery’s bright space, the viewer is immediately brought into Garavan’s quietly observed world, where intricate detail is celebrated in lilliputian brushstrokes, as though every speck of every manifestation of nature is worth dwelling on, too beautiful to rush.
A buttercup catches the light, a kelp forest sways gently, a minke whale slowly slips into the blue. A beech seedling pushes through a leaf-strewn forest floor.
Then, the viewer passes from brightness, through dark curtains, into a darkened room. They find themselves sucked away from the comfort of the minute and thrust, suddenly unbalanced, into the meta. On the wall opposite hangs Garavan’s extraordinary large-and-luminous triptych, ‘Contemplating Earthrise’. It is her rendering of the iconic picture taken by William Anders during the Apollo 1968 moon mission. The ears are filled with a NASA recording of the sound of space.
On a table in front lie school students’ handwritten messages to the future: Pleas to take care of the planet, apologies for the damage we have done, hope that life still exists. The effect is deeply moving.
This exhibition is a gorgeously meticulous ode to things that grow and this astounding planet of ours. Catch it before it is gone.
• ‘Seeing Earth’ continues in the Custom House Gallery until Sunday, September 19. Colour catalogue now available at the venue.