Thursday, June 5 From 6-9PM
Thurs, June 5 - Sat, July 26
They started appearing in downtown Manhattan around the ten year anniversary of 9/11. Not far from the shadow of the newly constructed One World Trade Center, hand painted mountains began filling billboards and the plywood barriers around TriBeCa and Soho. Sometimes so simplistic in composition that an entire piece may only be made up of two diagonal lines converging at a single peak. Yet, the scale of each, some as long as an entire city block, allowed the passerby to drift into its landscape and momentarily become lost within.
As time passed, the mountains began to become populated by hieroglyphic like creatures and horned humanoid figures. Crude in depiction, like contemporary cave paintings, the glyphs added an element of story telling and mythology to the landscapes. Then, as the beasts and beings began descending from the mountains and occupying graffitied doorways and alleyways of downtown Manhattan, their creator was introduced as the 82 year old artist by the name of Robert Janz.
Janz was born in Belfast in 1932. A painter, sculptor and performance artist, Janz attended the Rinehart School of Sculpture in Baltimore, Maryland before moving to London in the mid 1970’s. As a member of the international Fluxus movement in the 60’s and 70’s Janz’s concerns continue to be aspects of mortality and, increasingly, the acute danger to the universe of global warming. His art typically mixes elements of performance with the more conventional craft skills. A show in the Douglas Hyde Gallery in the early 1980’s saw Janz exhibiting a series of ‘performance/drawings’, where he drew directly onto the wall of the gallery during the show. Janz notes that people were confused at first, expecting the traditional visual theatre of sitting down and watching someone perform. But for him, the act of drawing is the performance. He paints and repaints, continuously erasing, changing and adding to his performance space, his viewers experiencing an evolution
Robert Janz is one of Ireland’s most celebrated living artists, with an international reputation stretching from Los Angeles to New York, London, Madrid and Dublin. He showed many years ago with the Oliver Dowling Gallery in Dublin and had a memorable mid-career retrospective afterwards at the Douglas Hyde Gallery in Trinity College. More recently, he returned to Ireland for a studio residence at the Irish Museum of Modern Art.