Whelan brings an iteratively considered change to his solo exhibition Terra Nimbus. His signature brooding, high contrast cloudscapes remain but he introduces a compelling new element with his explosion paintings.
There is a beguiling logic in Whelan’s choice. Explosions are the sudden, cataclysmic cousins of slow moving clouds but once captured in time and paint they become almost the same.
“It’s all about that phase shift with them both,” says Whelan “The act of disintegration is also an act of regeneration.”
That juxtaposition of forces continues throughout the show which brings a paradoxical lyricism to these works. He combines bold loose brushwork but subtly enhances with delicate touches of pure oil paints. The beautiful soft pinks and greys against the drama of the blacks and whites and neon flashes of colour. The ponderous moody danger of his clouds against the sudden destructive power of his explosions.
Whelan has also suggested at an identifiable horizon line in some of his new works. It translates his cloudscapes into something approaching a landscape yet still manages to keep them feeling fleeting and evanescent. Removing the clouds from his black voids and bringing them back to earth only serves to emphasize their volatility.
A solid earth but an ephemeral sky.