Introduction by Kevin Gildea. 2016
Welcome to the strange and wonderful land of Kevin McSherry – a place where birds drive Italian scooters and cricket players have dirigible bodies. Our guide is a subtle English biography, channeled through a charm that morphs to eccentricity and finally, glorious weirdness.
Here, deep in the interior of McSherryland, we are introduced to
The Intriguing Obsessions of Uncle Eugene; a man in a deep-sea diving suit
(of sorts) points to a painting of a giant eye, is connected to a wooden duck and sports an odd speaker on his frontage. Deep within the helmet there is a blue, shrunken face, almost alien, almost not there, and of a similar colour to the marine colour wallpaper in the background. ‘Are we only our obsessions?’, the painting seems to ask. Yet questions and meanings can happily be parked in such beautifully rendered self-contained worlds. No matter how inscrutable or meaning-resistant, they have the completeness of dreams.
Blasphemy is located pictorially in the interior but thematically closer to the border with reality. Here Noddy is depicted Christ-like on a cross as the policeman tip-toes away and brilliantly captures the ultimate silliness at the heart of all comedy that makes taking offence as silly as the image presented.
There is this stillness that permeates all the work, that operates like a deadpan delivery, producing comic effect. An understatement that speaks madness.
Beside the border with reality there are pictures of birds, a richness of colour beating almost imperceptibly from each. They would make beautiful stamps, ideal for posting your dreams to McSherryland.
If I was to launch this exhibition, I should smash a champagne bottle against the hull of an invisible ship and it would break into a thousand pebbles of glass which would hang suspended in mid air, fantastical and still, like so many Doran’s Pre-fried Sausages, like the very McSherry paintings contained within.