CHRISTOPHER STEENSON DISCUSSES SOME OF THE MAIN CHALLENGES FOR ARTISTS IN SECURING STUDIO SPACES. The words “artist” and “studio” seem to go hand-in-hand. If you are one, you need one. Workspaces can sometimes be as revered as the artists themselves. Just look at Francis Bacon – his studio was deemed so significant that conservators at Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane painstakingly moved its entire contents from its original location in 7 Reece Mews in London. An extreme example, but, as outlined in other articles featured in this issue, studios are an important – if not essential – part of an artist’s practice. Studios aren’t just a place for making
Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast 19 July – 25 August 2018 Bare interior. Protruding grey stage. Stage set in darkness. Curtains drawn. Centre left of stage, she stands, faintly lit, from close-up and below She is enveloped from head to foot in black. Behind She, the Other emerges out of darkness. Motionless off stage three Narrators stand, facing directly across from the stage. They face front, without deviation, throughout. An invisible microphone sits beneath each mouth. Their speech is prompted by a pronounced breath. Each voice toneless, except where an expression is indicated.
CHRISTOPHER STEENSON REPORTS ON SONORITIES FESTIVAL – AN EXPERIMENTAL MUSIC AND SOUND ART FESTIVAL THAT TOOK PLACE IN BELFAST FROM 17 TO 22 APRIL. If someone asked you where they might find a week-long, international festival dedicated to the latest developments in experimental music and sound art, you might recommend somewhere like Berlin. But since 1981, when Sonorities was founded at Queen’s University (QUB) as a “festival of twentieth century music”, Belfast has been just the place for an exploration of all things sonic. This year’s Sonorities Festival, which featured artists from over 40 countries, made a conscious effort to be more inclusive and open to the general public. By
Ulster Museum, Belfast 11 May – 23 September 2018 ‘Headland’ is a major exhibition of recent paintings by Elizabeth Magill, powerfully displayed across two large gallery spaces at Belfast’s Ulster Museum. Developed in partnership with Limerick City Gallery of Art and the Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin (both of which have hosted the exhibition already), ‘Headland’ has finally come to Belfast and will by no means disappoint those who have long anticipated its arrival. The exhibition, which presents 24 landscape paintings, draws attention to Magill as one of the region’s finest painters. The bare limbs of trees dominate the dimly-lit gallery spaces, twisting their way across the majority of the works
BEN WEIR OUTLINES HIS RECENT BOOK, PUBLISHED IN RESPONSE TO URBAN REDEVELOPMENT IN BELFAST CITY CENTRE. “The Claw is the blind performer It cannot speculate, judge Nor wince Steadfast Choreographed Dull acts Mechanised Strength Hastening Iconoclastic Labour Blunt-cleft Buildings open Exposing truths The Claw can’t read Crimes in plain sight An austere vandal.”
Ulster Museum, Belfast, 10 February – 3 September 2017 There’s an implicit understanding of the museum’s finite resources and loaded remit when viewing a permanent collection show. The limited pool from which these exhibitions are curated often leads to a loose circle being drawn around the works, its content used to simultaneously demonstrate and educate. It becomes a balance of signposting and illustrating, where singular artworks are laden with significance, denoting the development of an artist’s full career or even those of their peers. When seen repeatedly in different configurations, pieces can easily be experienced as historical artefacts rather than artworks. The spectrum of contact an audience will have with
Clare Strand, Belfast Exposed, 28 April – 17 June In ‘Snake’ the image is an interloper. At first unwelcome, it is nonetheless invited into the artist’s life for the long term. Clare Strand’s repulsion with the animal has compelled her to collect snake imagery since childhood, from scrapbooking serpentine forms in the loosest sense, to collecting more specific images – half glamour, half family-album-style photographs – of women who hold and love them.
Locky Morris, Naughton Gallery, Belfast, 8 December 2016 – 29 January 2017 Clock speaker radio, printed mug, foam lining, laser crystal photo frame, photograph, hand cleanser dispenser, sunglasses, workshop broom, photograph, tilt display stand, C-print aluminium plate, mounted photographs, pigmy light, screw, rotating photo cube, painted MDF pedestal display case, photographs, city centre paving block, mounted photographs, cardboard box, office cabinet (adapted), adapted digital photo frame, JPEG, adapted shelf, five-litre Poundstretcher utility box, spool of thread, photograph, plate stand, plastic strips for wall plugs, wall plugs, cable ties, small plate stand, four-gang extension lead, night light, cotton buds, acrylic paint tube, decorating clips, mounted photograph.
Alice Burns, Charissa Martin, Elaine McGinn, George Robb, Paula Clarke, Stephanie Harrison, Arts and Disability Forum, Belfast, 2 – 22 January 2017 The work of six recipients of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Individual Disabled/Deaf Artists (iDA) grant scheme comes together in ‘Guest 2’, a thought-provoking and challenging exhibition curated by artist Colin Darke at the Arts and Disability Forum Gallery. The exhibition space on Belfast’s Royal Avenue is modest but well-executed, benefitting from large windows and glass walls, which flood the space with natural daylight and create an attractive setting in which to consider the work of this diverse range of artists, whose practices encompass printmaking, photography, glasswork, video
Selected from an open call for applications and commissioned by Queen’s University Belfast, Capillarium (2016) by Kevin Killen is a work located outside the recently-built Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine, an interdisciplinary research centre building on the Health Sciences campus.