The Corrigan Gallery is pleased to present “Sex and Death” a show of works by Richard (Duke) Hagerty opening October 1 with a reception from 5pm to 8:00pm at 62 Queen Street, Charleston. The work will hang through October 31. This is his first solo show since the artist’s Piccolo Spoleto 2008 commissioned poster celebration. This opening is in conjunction with the French Quarter Gallery Association quarterly artwalk.“Sex and Death” are both words that many prefer not to discuss in any form. Richard Hagerty is entering his role as an artist completely in his desire to bring these often ignored words to the table. Discussing the title of this solo show, Hagerty states “Creation comes out of destruction. Sex and death are polarities of the natural cycle. Intellectual explanations recede in importance; the power of mystery is enough. The constant violent struggles inherent in creation and destruction are played out on the canvases. The paintings invite not so much analysis as visceral experience.” He goes on to explain pieces in the show such as “Happy Man” saying that this is a Buddhist concept. A man or woman is only happy when others are happy as well. Happy Man can face death courageously when s/he can catapult ego into the universe and embrace all. Planets and stars orbit around Happy Man’s head. Happy Man is spinning through time and space with Nataraja (Shiva), the Lord of the Dance.” To even introduce the very idea that the word happy can be used in relationship to death could be considered astonishing, particularly in western religion and philosophy. There is also the play on words that might be referenced.
Hagerty also says “In the deepest meditative state, it may be possible to confront one’s own DNA. The helix of the DNA is represented by the serpent.” The yogic Kundalini practice uses the serpent as the representation of energy, life force and sex. Hagerty uses the serpent in several paintings, some very personal, some geographical — all relating to energy whether in play or latent. Confronting one’s DNA may just bring the individual to the state of the “Happy Man” with the ability to let go of “ego … and embrace all.”
Repeated references to spine and temporality as well as the serpent (coiled ready to spring up the spine in Kundalini visuals) put the viewer in the mindset to gain strength from the paintings. Whether the fragmented shapes of the “Happy Man” or the serpent full of vitality or the spine of mountain ranges, the strength and potential freedom gained from facing destruction, death and finality.
Richard (Duke) Hagerty began painting while in medical school utilizing the surgical training that enhanced his eye-hand coordination. He is a self-taught artist who draws his surreal, fantasy based imagery from dreams, mythology, religion, history and science. The language of the unconscious and the act of dreaming in the conscious state define his work. He paints in a variety of media, including pen and ink, watercolor and oil. He has been a working artist for several decades. This former councilman and practicing surgeon is widely acclaimed for his fantasy paintings in which he crafts psychologically potent dreamscapes. The tableaus recall those of Dali, Bosch, Brueghel, Kandinsky, Miro, Klee, Calder and Chagall. The symbolic art movement’s preceding World War II influence and the iconographic mark making of the Latin American and Asian cultures are evident in his work.
Hagerty has created several posters for Piccolo Spoleto throughout its three plus decades. His paintings have appeared in numerous solo and group exhibitions since 1979 throughout the southeastern region and in New York. His work is in the collections of the Gibbes Museum of Art and Chapin –Burroughs Museum. He had a solo show at the Gibbes Art Gallery (now Museum of Art) in 1991.
Corrigan Gallery, now in its fifth year, is a culmination of 22 years of experience in the Charleston art market. The gallery represents more than a dozen artists in an intimate space and presents 6 to 10 shows per year with the gallery being refreshed every month. Visiting artists are included in the yearly roster with most of the artists either being Charleston natives or individuals living in Charleston. A gallery of contemporary works exploring the depth and intellect behind the drive to create, Corrigan Gallery provides a breathing space around the historic city’s traditional bent. There are visiting artists included throughout the year and daily works are shown by Manning Williams, John Hull, Joe Walters, Mary Walker, Kristi Ryba, Lynne Riding, John Moore, Gordon Nicholson, Sue Simons Wallace, Kevin Bruce Parent, Daphne vom Baur, Paul Mardikian, Max Miller, Sally Bennett, Michael Slattery, Tim Fensch, Richard Hartnett and Lese Corrigan. Open six days a week and other times by appointment, the gallery can be viewed 24 hours a day at
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