Love in the landscape

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Pádraig McCaul’s romantic, painterly vision of the west of Ireland excludes all stain of human interference (apart from his windowless, doorless houses), and aims to draw the viewer into his quiet imagining of the lives lived there.

His new work at the Bad Art Gallery is a series of large landscapes inspiring and inspired by the stories Will Merriman tells in the songs on his eight-track CD, The Light of Which I Speak. It’s a collaborative project for the artists; McCaul had the idea for the show after a gig with their band, The Harvest Ministers, and within eight months the project, comprising eight songs and 25 paintings, was complete.

The paintings are like a set, McCaul explains, a backdrop for the love story that plays out through Merriman’s songs. Set in 1798, the songs chronicle the affair between a young Co Mayo girl and a French soldier. The last song, and one of the largest paintings, Jesus Please Make Room for One More, conclude the circle of life in the story, with the quayside cluster of coloured cottages overlooked by the graveyard on the crest of the hill. Joyce Hickey

The Light of Which I Speakis at the Bad Art Gallery, 79 Francis Street, Dublin 8, until March 19th. Pádraig McCaul and Will Merriman will perform songs from the CD at the gallery at 1pm today and next Saturday.

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