Doubles. It happens in tennis; in marriage it’s couples; in singing there’s the duet. And here’s a special, on-going double act on canvas. It’s of him and her, Terence Erraught and Ciara Scanlan: she paints him, he paints her. And they are not done.
The plan is to contribute to and change this painting over time; by doing so they hope to capture the changing, unfolding nature of their relationship.
They worked separately. “I painted Terence and he painted me and the time put into the process varied. I probably spent less time on it.
“We often don’t work well together as we have different styles and approaches to working and yet we still produced something together.”
Inspired by Gone with the Wind, the dramatic black-and-red background was something that they both agreed on. Erraught’s portrait of his partner is representational, hers is more expressionistic and the different style “is certainly linked to our personalities” says Scanlan.
They had met through art and in this double portrait, Scanlon from Glin in west Limerick, Erraught from Portmarnock come together in art.
“Terence, a performance artist, was pretending to be an island.” She thought him very loud and very funny. Later Scanlan discovered that he had “heard my very loud high heels during the performance”. They clearly clicked.
What does he make of her and she of him? Her pose is formal. Tanned, relaxed, she wears black and white, bright dangly earrings and a jaunty hat. Her expression, the tilt of her head and her hands suggest, as the dog does, a cool confidence.
She has him wearing white gloves, a dashing yellow jacket but he is collared-and-tied and looks icily terrified. And on their laps? “We each chose what object we wanted to represent us.” Scanlan sits with the family pug “Anthony Hopkins” and Erraught has, on his lap, a dehydrated dead fish. And the title? “Twenty 1 Five” is the year the work was first created.
For both, it’s “a daunting and fascinating task. Time passing and us ageing together is exciting. The dead fish acknowledges time; the dog will die.” And he and she too.
Meanwhile their art defies time and unites them. This year, next year. On and on. Ever changing. Art imitating life.
Sunday Indo Living