“Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic.”
Oscar Wilde – The Picture of Dorian Gray
Exquisite Things is series of experimental photographic works, overtly inspired by a deep reverence for the historical traditions of portrait painting, but underpinned by an ongoing fascination with the innate dichotomy of the inner self, the untamed ego, versus the projected persona, the mask which we construct. Much of Horne’s work evokes an air of disconnection, absorption, or psychological disturbance by placing a layer of interference between subject and beholder, obscuring, veiling, and disrupting the normative conventions of portraiture.
Horne employs variations of a transformative printing process to distort and deconstruct the perfection of the photographic surface, a method of painting without paint, revealing a dark, melancholic vision beneath the sublime veneer. The unexpected fragility of the resulting pieces inherently complements the subject matter, but also conjures unbidden thoughts of decay, the passage of time, and, inevitably, mortality.
The subjects emanate a disconcertingly dark emotional presence, possessing a degree of ambiguity which might intrigue and unnerve. With echoes of religious iconography, Vanitas, and, of course, the Gothic, ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ would seem a particularly apt companion for these shadowy apparitions of the subconscious.
Johnny Horne is based in Co. Clare, and recently graduated from Limerick School of Art & Design with a first class BA Hons in Fine Art (Print & Contemporary Practice). A multi-disciplinary practitioner, he works in drawing, printmaking, sculpture, installation, video, and digital and film photography.