Combat

Gerard Dillon (1916 – 1971)

  • Artist
    Gerard Dillon
  • Title
    Combat
  • Date
    c. 1963
  • Dimensions
    33.5 × 26.5cm
  • Medium
    Mixed media
  • Collection
    Niland Collection
  • Provenance
    Purchased by Sligo County Library and Museum, 1963
Description

Born and brought up in the Falls Road area of Belfast, Gerard Dillon was a painter-decorator by trade who spent much of his working life in London. First visiting the west of Ireland in 1939, he became enchanted with both the landscape and the people and made them a recurrent theme of his work. Recalling his discovery of Connemara, Dillon wrote that the west was ‘a great strange land of wonder to the visitor from the red-brick city’(1). Like many artists and writers before him, he held a romantic view of the west as both the locus of an authentic Irish culture and a ‘primitive’ place, free from many of the restraints of wider Irish society.

While Dillon’s most celebrated paintings are his western landscapes, his most innovative works are the abstractions and collages dating from the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Incorporating sand, found objects and photographs, he allowed chance to influence the appearance of the final work. In Combat two insect-like creatures prepare to engage one another in a battle. The roughly torn pieces of paper, along with the whimsical nature of the final image, suggest that the subject was determined by the materials at hand.

1. Gerard Dillon, ‘The Artist Speaks’, Envoy, 4 February 1951, p.39.

Written by Riann Coulter

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