While attempting to secure the publication of his short story collection Dubliners in 1906, Joyce wrote a series of letters to London publisher Grant Richards in which he justified the content and structure of his work. In one of these letters, he explained to Richards that the stories presented Dublin life as he saw it under four of its different aspects – childhood, adolescence, maturity and public life – and that the stories were arranged in this order. This exhibition of paintings by Frank Kiely is inspired by the childhood and adolescence sections of the collection, reimagining scenes from the stories in a contemporary setting and probing key themes that remain relevant today; individualism and community, repression and obligation, love and grief.
The ecstatic joy of driving in a sports car in plain view of all, feeling on top of the world. A first crush on the girl next door and its consequences. Broken hearts from meeting invisible boundaries of conventional society. And the darker themes of nefarious intent and facing ones dark curiosity. They are all stories about growing up, and every picture is a vignette of a young person faced with the realities of life. As a whole, Kiely’s bright and inventive paintings evoke the hidden meaning and claustrophobia of Joyce’s classic stories.
Frank Kiely studied at the Royal College of Art graduating in 2002. His exhibition ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ ran at the James Joyce Centre in 2017.
The exhibition runs at the James Joyce Centre during opening hours until 21 December 2018