'The Golden Sunrise'
Engine Room Gallery
Belfast 3 - 26 April 2003.

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Exhibition Press Release

The Engine Room Gallery in Belfast presents ‘The Golden Dawn’ a new exhibition of contemporary visual art by Colin McGookin. This is the east Belfast born and based artists’ second solo exhibition in the Engine Room and continues where his last exhibition, ‘Enclosed Spaces’ (2001), finished.

‘The Golden Dawn’ comprises 3 complete suites of paintings, ‘The Labyrinth Tree’, ‘The Golden Dawn’, and ‘The Week’ series as well as a number of single paintings. All the paintings are acrylic on paper or fabric and this is the first time they have been exhibited in Ireland, ‘The Labyrinth Tree’ series having been exhibited in Las Vegas in 2001.

McGookin says of these works “I began to make this group of paintings at the end of the millennium and they are representative of my concerns during these last 3 years. ‘The Labyrinth Tree’ series ended around October 2001 with 3 paintings with a pronounced sunrise which developed to become ‘The Golden Dawn’ series. The references are my usual suspects of local and international religious and secular symbols interacting with each other. For the Las Vegas exhibition of ‘The Labyrinth Tree’ series in 2001 new ciphers entered in the form of gaming machine signs. All of these works were painted quite quickly in groups of 3 or 4 and there was a conscious determination to work aesthetically and ignore the urge to read meaning into the compositions being created. I am continually concerned by how various members of the organisations that might be represented by these symbols might read these paintings however my role as an artist is primarily to be as truthful in telling a visual story from an aesthetic position and avoid any cant based reading of my paintings”.

The artist is currently working as artist in residence at Queens University Belfast where he is creating an ambitious mural programme with the Institute of Byzantine Studies. That projects progress is viewable online by clicking here.