The first major piece to deploy the ‘bar’ or stripe motif, Die Then Work Faith, Remember? has hung in Kieran’s study for many years, overlooking his workstation. Like all the other Here Lies paintings, it appears it could be a small section of a much larger whole: we can easily imagine the white bar, and the field against which it is set, extending far beyond the limits of the canvas.
It is also the first of the large paintings where Kieran gets to articulate his signature paint structure, tying down innumerable shards of bone in a web of whitish strands, here in a particularly pure iteration.
The orientation of the composition - like the trunk of some petrified holy tree - cannot help but suggest the polarities up/down or above/below, with the white central figure offering itself as a kind of bridge or path between the two.
Therefore another point of reference might be the ancient concept of the Tao, or Way. However, the interrogative tone of the painting’s title gives us pause, as it sounds somehow at odds with the peace-oriented direction of travel urged by followers of the Tao. Here, rather, we are led to consider another vector: that of a path which is itself indifferent to our desires; a Way we cannot step off.
Oil on Canvas
Dimensions: 203 x 140 cm