The Conscious Unconscious, an online lockdown exhibition


Welcome to an exhibition of recent work, uploaded in May 2020 during the Covid 19 lockdown in Ireland.  It is in five parts listed in the menu on the right of this page.

If you are currently in self-isolation, I hope you find equanimity – that being the theme of these drawings and paintings produced in the solitude of the studio.  This work is about looking and seeing, and how the relationship of the two changes what is visible, and how it also changes the person looking if they enter an intimate relationship with what is before their eyes, provided they allow that to happen to them.  I hope you might enter into and enjoy this process.

As with earlier work on this website, consciousness is the theme of these drawings, but here it has moved centre stage as my primary object of attention and as the subject matter of this exhibition.

While earlier series of drawings refer to the appearances of things such as the weather and the ever changing sky, this exhibition—in enquiring into consciousness—refers to emptiness, such as when sky meets sea in calmness, in places like The Flaggy Shore in Ireland or Rhossilli beach in Wales.

Here and throughout this website, I describe the work as enquiring although much writing on art talks about art expressing or intervening.  I have been doing this for about forty years, and a note of explanation might be appropriate:

Just as physics enquires into the physical world, and biology enquires into organisms, so art enquires into human consciousness, by which I include the unconscious or subconscious intelligence that so often leads our engagement with the world.

Whatever subject matter a work of art appears to address—such as place, the theme of gender equality, a vase of flowers, or a human body, or a combination of these—it also and always carries with it both the artist’s and the audience’s consciousness of that subject matter, and so consciousness is part of the subject matter, and in my work the main part.  In art, the perceiving subject and the perceived object of attention are always interwoven, unlike in science where there is usually a working assumption that they are separate.

Some of these works have been exhibited previously at the Oliver Sears Gallery, Dublin, the RHA Dublin, The Bankside Gallery, London, Chelsea Arts Club, London, Impressions Print Biennale, Galway, NUI Galway, the Russell Gallery, Clare, The Gallery at Burren College of Art, and Siena Art Institute, and acquired by the Irish State Art Collection, the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, and several private collections.

Copyright © Timothy Emlyn Jones 2020