The Emotion of Objects

Liam Flynn, Footed Vessel in Ebonised Oak

Liam Flynn, Footed Vessel in Ebonised Oak


April 12 2015

I distinctly remember seeing Liam Flynn’s 2011 mid-career retrospective at the Hunt Museum in Limerick in 2011. In a softly darkened room, beautiful vessels and barrel forms sat silently over a number of gently tiered rows. Staring steadily back at the viewer, they were both intense and fragile, ancient and contemporary. They had an emotional intensity that resonated.

Flynn’s current solo exhibition, entitled Spin, takes place in the more spacious and brighter environment that is Oliver Sears Gallery in Dublin. Here a series of vessels sit on individual plinths and mantelpieces over four rooms. However while the surroundings may be different, the emotional intensity remains and this is what makes this Liam Flynn’s work so special.

As part of our everyday lives, the wood turned vessel is, in many ways, so familiar to us that it can easily be taken for granted and even if we do appreciate the mastery of the maker, the innate understanding of form or even the social signifier of the vessel, Liam Flynn has the ability to create work that goes that one step further. For, here is someone who, as the catalogue forward states, ‘makes objects that reference all the emotions that great art can trigger’. That’s what makes this work, and this exhibition, so special.


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Frances McDonald