Bound by human experience

‘Honourable Restraint,’ an exhibition of new drawings on paper by artist Leslie Cullinan, opens this Friday evening in the Watergate Theatre’s Upstairs Gallery.

‘Honourable Restraint,’ an exhibition of new drawings on paper by artist Leslie Cullinan, opens this Friday evening in the Watergate Theatre’s Upstairs Gallery.

Through the portrayal of both real and imaginary subjects, ‘Honourable Restraint’ considers notions of restraint with regard to immediate response.

Painstakingly involved and obsessive drawings are presented to which self-control and restraint are fundamental factors. Each piece in turn begs a more primal response, a gut reaction, over which control and restraint have no impact.

In many cases the subject is physically bound. Although the bound subject and its function may not clearly be defined, a possibility is presented in what may lurk underneath. The work is concerned with the gratification of the unsaid or undone. Perhaps the anticipation of an act holds as much pleasure as the act itself?

Humour also plays and important role. A tongue-in-cheek element is apparent in much of the drawing. Victorian wallpapers are often referenced in a nod to the dignity and restraint exercised during the era.

The binding of people and objects has been a recurring theme in Leslie’s work, implying once more an element of control while also alluding to themes such as suffocation, claustrophobia or sexual excitement.

The show’s title comes from a quote by poet John Ruskin (1819–1900): “It is his restraint that is honourable to a person, not his liberty.”

Born in Tipperary in 1975 he and now living in Dublin, Leslie returned to making art full-time in 2009 after working in fashion retail for a number of years. He has a mainly drawing based practice, while also involving himself in some installation and interactive performance work. Leslie is a graduate of the Crawford College of Art and Design, Cork.