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General News / July 23, 2019

New work inspired by sheep markings & hay bales coming to Dublin’s Hang Tough Gallery

General News / July 23, 2019

New work inspired by sheep markings & hay bales coming to Dublin’s Hang Tough Gallery

“What is a mark? A scribble, a squiggle, a doodle, a ‘tag’ are all made marks. For what purpose do we put pen to paper, spray paint to wall or paint to canvas? To express, to state ownership, to communicate or to provoke?”


On August 8 Hang Tough Gallery will begin hosting ‘Erratic’, Irish artist Ronan Dillon’s first solo exhibition. The exhibition is a collection of work inspired by his last two years of living in Sligo, utilising his “outsider’s eyes” to capture the wildness of the land through an urban perspective. Ronan found the similarities between Dublin and Sligo through common links like graffiti, in this case moved from toilet walls and back alleys onto sheep.


‘Sheep’ is a series of paintings that document the different markings used to identify particular flocks of sheep in the countryside.

sheepMAIN (1)

“‘Culleenamore, sheep #29’ [above] is composed of a blue oval outline positioned off-centre with spots of red, green and indigo dotting the pictorial plane. The application of these rudimentary markings are inconsistent, with residue arbitrarily speckling the surface. This painterly orderlessness is due to its medium, the product ‘Agrihealth Sheep Marker’. This is the exact spray paint used by farmers to mark their sheep, and its effect in this context is unpredictable and imprecise.”

balefieldDillon’s other series of thematic works entitled ‘Bale’, comprise of four large pieces depicting hay bales wrapped in black and pink plastic.


“In farming, the bales need to be wrapped tightly in a plastic covering to exclude air and ensure the successful silage making process. To the foreign eye it is an exotic anomaly; seeing hundreds of bales in these artificial colours stacked high in fields, decorated in expressive designs or calligraphed characters for the purpose of deterring birds. The markings are similar to a ‘tag’ made by a graffiti artist in a cityscape – the making of one’s mark, an announcement that you were there.

“At the essence, Erratic is an exhibition about how relocation can give a fresh outlook.”

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