John O'Flynn - Artist

John O'Flynn - Artist

Mainne Jellett


I recently went along to see the exhibition "Analysing Cubism – Maine Jellet etc…" at Irish Museum Of Modern Art IMMA (& later Crawford, Cork). Co-incidentally I had read Bruce Arnold’s biography of Jellet and was somewhat informed about her life and work. I thought one should divide the exhibits into two catagories: (1) the progression of works trying to evolve a new language of painting and (2) the works where that language was applied to subject matter.

As it is a simple straightforward subject, above I’ve compared Jellet’s "Wave" (extreme left) with other treatments of same subject….I don’t think Jellet’s in any way comes close to the experience of a wave, as the other examples do…While I better understand her motivations (re-acting against the sickly romanticism of Victorian realism) and her career, to my mind Cubism, to which she contributed heroically, failed to evolve a convincing new language…as is confirmed perhaps by its short-lived tenure on the stage of modern art…


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