"Aleana Egan's art is predominantly intuitive and subjective; she uses simple materials, assembled or barely transformed, to create enigmatic works that have a restrained tone and structure. She groups these pieces into installations that are oddly ambivalent; on the one hand she draws our attention to the way things look, how they settle, sag, curve, or hang; on the other, her forms and shapes act as traces or memories, and as a tentative articulation of shifting responses to remembered places or everyday moments. Gaps and absences are at the heart of what Egan does, and this is what makes her work a little puzzling. Similarly, her frequent literary and historical allusions, which are never explained, are reticent and elliptic.
Her works evolve through a series of stages, with each successive layer gaining a density until the final form emerges, coherent and cogent, yet insistently resisting the stamp of the finite. Her practice is dominated by a meandering, sensuous line which carries through into the fluid way in which her films are made and suggests a condition of flux. When the line is filled to form a plane and to become a receptacle, it is still kept open, to collect snow or rain water.
Egan often works with very crude materials such as cardboard, plaster and concrete, and her sculptures are painted with carefully mixed, very matt colours. The rawness and openness of the sentiment or idea that triggered the work is embodied by these carefully manipulated materials. Egan does not wish to tell stories or make grand gestures but to find appropriate forms to engender psychological states and memories."
All images below are courtesy of the artist Aleana Egan.
Above Image: Postcard artwork for Philosophy by Postcard to celebrate the centenary of the writer and philosopher Iris Murdoch, here is the accompanying text from the project:
About the postcard
"This business of symbols is rather confusing. I am not, I think, a symbolic writer in any allegorical or complete sense. Symbols come in, perhaps more in some novels than in others. I would want them to come in a completely natural way, through the characters. That is, being a symbol maker is not a kind of an odd thing which artists are, it’s something which everyone is. One notices in any kind of family situation or love affair, people invent symbols, all sorts of things become symbolic. This kind of pattern–making, although it may be concerned with art in some genetic way, is not just an effect of art, it is something one spots if one looks around at human beings."
Iris Murdoch interview with William Kent Rose, A Tiny Corner in The House of Fiction: Conversations with Iris Murdoch (University of South Carolina Press 2003)
Reading Iris Murdoch made me aware of how important the recognition of human detail is. Her descriptions of the minutiae that make up a life. The constrictions and pressures of social and domestic worlds and idiosyncratic meals: beetroot on toast. All this resonated and inspired me to continue trying to be an artist in my twenties after I had finished art college. There was something in the formation of these worlds that generated sculptural responses. I imagined the shapes in between the characters out of what was said and also unsaid. This postcard is representative of that way of working in between literature and visual art.