Underpinning Albert Irvin's paintings are grids. So far so standard for a particular kind of abstract painting. But Irvin's grids are usually skewed, given an enlivening tilt, one tactic among many in a repertoire devoted to energising the pictorial field. Others include an incredible level of sustained attack.
His work has a clear affinity with American abstract expressionism, but he is also an action painter in the literal sense of vigorous, physical engagement with the painting.
He is always willing to up the ante in terms of colour, exploiting the wayward qualities of acrylic pigment expertly in building vivid and buoyant patterns. The fast pace, lightness of touch and penchant for bright hues may together make the whole thing look easy. But just try it. You're likely to end up with a muddy, inert mess in place of Irvin's pyrotechnics.
He identifies his paintings in terms of place, and the many references to Ireland indicate the extent to which he has developed ties here over the years.
Although there are architectural qualities in his work, from the street grid of towns and cities to the quatrefoil pattern, they are not illustrative of particular places. Perhaps they relate more to the experience of being in a place, one buzzing with interest and possibilities.