Meakin + Parsons x Hannah Payne present a solo exhibition of new paintings by Daniel MacCarthy, Ship of Fools, curated by Kristian Day.
MacCarthy’s paintings portray nettles glowing in headlights, figures toiling by torchlight, man and nature within the eerie aspect of the crepuscule. These are not nocturnes in the traditional romantic sense. Here Samuel Palmer’s bucolic reclining figures are blinded by the spotlight of modernity.
Metaphor and allegory have always been part of the language in Daniel MacCarthy’s paintings. MacCarthy’s semiotic language, depicting nettles and brambles, electric light and shovels, boats and parasols, symbolise hope and anxiety, entropy, the climate crisis and our relationship to our natural surroundings. Often this language becomes obscure, the metaphor being felt more than understood.
The exhibition title, Ship of Fools, refers to Plato’s allegory for bad governance and is a nod to the Hieronymus Bosch painting of the same name. It addresses a sense that the least qualified people are always in charge. And yet is this the natural order of things? Has it always been so? Certainly, the Bosch painting would suggest as much.
This political and philosophical backdrop sits somewhere to one side of works that are as much about a love of riverbanks and warm summer nights as the societal schism in our dealings with the natural world and the consequent emotional fallout.
Daniel MacCarthy (b. 1986, UK) Lives and works in Wales. MacCarthy studied at the Royal Drawing School in London and is a recipient of the Sidney Nolan Trust Resident Artist Award.
An artist conversation will take place during the exhibition between the artist and Kristian Day.
Meakin + Parsons x Hannah Payne, 16 North Parade Avenue, Oxford
Gallery open times:
Tuesday to Friday from 10.00am to 6.00pm
Saturdays from 10.00am to 4.00pm
Sunday and Monday – closed.