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Aidan Dunne reviews Joseph O’Connor in The Irish Times

The Peppercanister Gallery has an instinct for pinpointing interesting but relatively neglected artists, witness last year’s Graham Gingles exhibition, and now the gallery’s current show of work by Joseph O’Connor. Although he has a long history of exhibiting in various group shows in Ireland, notably the Independent Artists, and a few solo outings, and is highly regarded by many artists and a number of collectors, O’Connor has remained something of an outsider partly due to temperament, partly to the nature of his work. Born in Dublin in 1936, he studied medicine before committing himself to painting. When he first began exhibiting, minimalist abstraction was in the ascendant and his work seemed almost eccentric, but it is much more at home in a post-modern context. In fact you could say he was a postmodernist ahead of his time. His use of sport, particularly soccer, and sportsmen – usually men – as subject matter, his straightforward use of second-hand sources such as newspaper photos, multiple images and a certain quirky, obsessive quality, are all more widely acceptable now. O’Connor imbues the dramatic spectacle of first division football with a mythic status. His footballers are tragic and heroic figures. His work is full of movement but also frozen in time with a sculptural feeling about it.