Outsider Art: Shay Culligan brings his retrospective show “TEN” to the Savin Gallery

An outspoken critic of, not just the art elite, but privileged elites in general, and stuffy pompous phonies too, Boston-based Irish artist Shay Culligan brings his retrospective show “TEN” to the Savin Gallery in Dorchester, Boston this evening. “TEN” encapsulates a decade of Shay’s work in the serigraphy medium, ranging from architectural studies to glamorous female portraits, and mocking political exposés to abstract urban studies.

Not one to be bound by limiting themes Culligan lets loose with an explosion of color that assaults the viewers’ visual senses, prior to even attempting to digest the plethora of varying messages contained within this exhibition. Purists of the print medium might be disappointed that none of his works are on paper, but surely the artist deserves credit for tackling screen printing on such texture as canvas, showing a level of technical ability that defies the extent to which Shay continues to be overlooked by the art establishment.

“I haven’t been attending the right cocktail parties, or groveling to whomever it takes to open the necessary doors for advancement in this peculiar business” he snarks sarcastically, as usual. But at least he is prolific, as few of the current show’s art has survived from the first “TEN” outing in New York this past Summer. But after 10 years working in this ruinously expensive medium where does Culligan intend to go from here? Will he remain a serigrapher or will he return to painting in oils, a medium he abandoned in 2002? His surprisingly low asking-prices hint at an eagerness to unload his vast serigraph output and hastily exit the medium. But don’t expect any hints from the artist himself as to his future agenda, as any snooping for clues will be greeted with the usual ambiguous hyperbole. In that sense the artist Shay Culligan can always be relied upon for acerbic  consistency.

Shay Culligan is staging a solo exhibition “TEN” at thenew Savin Gallery in Savin Hill, Boston until 28th December

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