Fall from GraceEveryone Knows a Horse Sculpture No 1 by Nevan Lahart, courtesy of the Kevin Kavanagh Gallery
A refreshing article: Mane frame: equine art in the Year of the Horse by Gemma Tipton in the Irish Times explores the central question inherent in equine art. Is it still relevant? Or is it just a sentimental placeholder? In her eyes, “no animal, it seems, has fallen further from grace than the horse.”
Tipton notes that horses have been depicted by human artists since 30,000 BC and she argues that despite the millennia since their creation, these Paleolithic era horses’ vitality is evident, “these horses are raw and real, energetic and exciting. Whoever the artists were, horses were obviously central to their lives, survival, beliefs and dreams.”
Contrasting that with current horse art, Tipton understands that there are inherent problems with bringing modern images to life, “…it can be hard to depict animals well. Maybe there’s too much emotional content in the gaze of a noble horse (or a cuddly dog) not to end up with something slightly sickly, fluffy, and frankly embarrassing to the eyes of a contemporary art audience.”
Focusing on Irish artists and Ireland where until recently, the Irish horse held a central place in the general culture and still dominates the international racing world, Tipton traverses the contemporary equestrian art scene and profiles those artists infusing new energy into this ancient art form. Worth a read.