Stoney Road Press

Blow out

Blow out

Leah Hewson

"Jazz is on my mind as I look at Hewson’s suite of most recent prints, made with Stoney Road Press: jazz, but also clouds and storms, sunbursts and lightning strikes – some of the things you may feel when you hear really good jazz. And then again these works conjure those sudden thoughts that streak into the mind, or maybe they represent the chance meetings we talked about at the beginning of this text. Fizzing off their backdrops, they definitely open new doors to the sudden gorgeous views, and the scintillating serendipities that lift life above the ordinary. They combine to make us realise again that all around us is the extraordinary, dancing to its own subconscious music, everyday. "

Image Credit:

Leah Hewson, Blow Out no11

Prose taken from "Chaotic Order: Leah Hewson in Print" by Gemma Tiptom, a writer on contemporary art and culture, writing with the Irish Times and Artforum.com.

We live in a chaotic, crazy world. Random events, sudden surprises, the excitement – or the dismay – of the utterly unexpected: and yet look more deeply and find that underpinning everything it feels as if there must be order. Even a chance meeting has had its beginnings somewhere. There has been the moment that sparked the chain of events, creating an inevitability that carries things forward to what we cherish as the significant moment.

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Patterns matter. In a gridded city, the seething morass of traffic is actually carefully choreographed to the beat of green and red. From frost fractals to the more general weather, we see that even wild storms follow the logic of wind currents and the predictable effects of warm air meeting cold. Order balances chaos, order puts sense onto chaos, and makes life liveable.

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Leah Hewson at Stoney Road Press

Our own minds and bodies are subject to the same forces too. The regularity of the heart beat and our circulating blood is layered over with the erratic processes of thoughts and dreams. Conscious thinking and the notions of the subconscious mind are in steady, enduring interplay. Perhaps that is why we like stories so much. They present us with fictions of cause and effect, reason and meaning, they underlay the seemingly random with patterns.
This is also why Leah Hewson’s work won’t quite let you go.

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Of course her paintings, sculptural works, and prints are immediately enticing. Bright colours can do that, lure you in. But just as with life, a longer look reveals so much more. One of the most potent mysteries that Hewson’s art taps into is how stories can only bring us so far. Human perception is just a layer on top of the world and the universe around us, a lid on the richer vein that lies beneath. Language is just one of the tools that we use to make sense of what we can see.

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Leah Hewson, Blow Out no1

Take maths: Dark Matter proves that the more we discover, the more the sums don’t quite add up (just ask a mathematician about the square root of minus one…). This is also true of language: an ill-fitting lid on the powerful emotions, feelings and impulses that lie behind the words we have at our disposal.
Hewson takes on these thoughts, fuelled by her studies into Jung and Freud’s theories of the unconscious. Through these she makes exciting explorations into how to get behind the layers of words, and ideas of meanings, to find what is more essential at the core.

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The mind likes to find connections with the already known, and Hewson’s work does involve the risky immediacy of street art. It has the bright, exuberant tension of Keith Haring, without the figuration, or the didacticism. Instead there’s a rich allusiveness, all the time underpinned by Hewson’s grids, which provide the holding centre.
Hewson also has a broadness of vision, fed, perhaps, by residencies from the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin, the Nars Foundation in Brooklyn New York, SIM in Berlin, and then back to Dublin to take up an award with the Wilton Park Studios. Add further awards and scholarships, and a presence in collections around the world, and it’s clear that her work has found a chord that reaches out to touch beyond language, across cultures and borders.

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Leah Hewson, Blow Out no2

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Here, I’m inclined to think of Sean Scully, in whose New York studio Hewson worked for a while. She has the same instinct for colour and the kinetics of the grid, and yet, again, she brings an edgy, playful overlay – which takes an assured eye, and no shortage of guts. But I want to go back further, to Mondrian who, to the glancing eye is all about restraint and the construction of boundaries. However, to those who go further in and let his artworks “catch the heart off guard” (as Seamus Heaney put it in another context), there’s so much more. Broadway Boogie Woogie (1943-43), which shimmers in the collection of MoMA, reminds us that, as Brian O’Doherty once wrote, Mondrian liked to dance.

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Music is in the same mix as art and poetry when it comes to letting us get closer to the pulses that reach beyond the more immediately discernable, and which vaguely trouble us when they make their presence felt, as they so frequently do. Of course they do, they – after all – underpin everything. While art has abstraction, and poetry uses metaphor, music corrals those dancing notes into grids, so that they can break out, and into our senses.

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Leah Hewson

Blow out
(There are 11 images in the series [I – XI])

Sept 2019

56 x 40"

Monotype & mixed media

Stoney Road Press

Printed onto Khadi paper ( made from recycled tshirts from India)

ALL WORKS SOLD- taking contact details from those interested in being placed on a waiting list for the next body of works which will be available during Summer 2021

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Leah Hewson has a 1st class (Hons) degree in Fine Art from IADT. Recently featured in the Irish Times"50 People to watch in 2021", Leah Hewson’s career has been steadily building. She has completed residencies in Brooklyn and Berlin, and at the Royal Hibernian Academy School, has had four solo shows, and in 2020 won the Whyte’s Award for Painting at the 190th RHA Annual Show.

Since late 2019 Leah has been working on a suite of monoprints here at Stoney Road Press. (A monoprint is a unique artwork and not part of an edition). These works will be available shortly, please contact the studio with any enquiries.

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