The Geometry of Origins
The Geometry of Origins is a small painting, on canvas mounted in turn upon a wooden panel. The spiral motif is by now familiar to us: the scale on which it is presented, perhaps less so.
This is because The Geometry of Origins began life as a piece of research toward the much bigger Malefact (also on exhibition here). However in its ancestral form as a study or maquette, this handleable little object was not yet a completed painting. Rather, it was what Kieran calls one of his Here Lies 'drawings': a simple graphic armature of bone fragments, pushed into thick wet underpainting, that establish the contours of the elemental figure being sought - in this case, a sort of Archimedean double-spiral of potentially infinite extent.
Having satisfied himself that the resultant figure could be so developed, Kieran went off and put its lesson into practise, as it were, laying aside this study for many years. When he picked it up again, it was in order to carry out a newer piece of research, distinct from before. For on this occasion colour relationships were to be the primary focus, in particular the mica loaded silvers and blues, and the manner in which they complement the fierier tones and textures underneath. What was learned here can be seen to inform the large canvas The Spirit in the Mass (also part of the exhibition today).
That two separate investigations should add up to more than the sum of their parts is not a surprise. It is precisely in this achieved identity that The Geometry of Origins appears as necessary, and at least as emphatically present, as any of the larger canvases that hang alongside. And of course its life as an influencer of subsequent paintings is not over: there is a major piece nearing completion in Kieran's studio right now that owes more than a little to the discoveries set out on this small but impactful panel.