JOANNE LAWS SPEAKS TO BRIAN MAGUIRE ABOUT HIS CURRENT EXHIBITION, ‘WAR CHANGES ITS ADDRESS: THE ALEPPO PAINTINGS’. Joanne Laws: ‘The Aleppo Paintings’ depict the crumbling buildings of the war-torn Syrian city. Can you describe your motivation for this work? Brian Maguire: I was very interested in the Syrian Civil War. I was reading texts by Patrick Cockburn, which made me think about how the Irish Civil Rights Movement was militarised and sectarianised. It became about Catholics and Protestants and was taken over by the military, yet it began as a civil rights movement, just as the rebellion in Syria began as a peaceful movement and very quickly became militarised by
Island Arts Centre, Lisburn, 23 November – 20 December 2017 Husband and wife, Robert and Barbara Ellison, are showcasing their recent work in concurrent solo exhibitions across two gallery spaces at the Island Arts Centre in Lisburn. Without an overarching theme attributed, the exhibitions freely explore the artists’ varying techniques and painterly styles. This is a unique opportunity to see work by these two artists in the same venue at the same time, and to observe similarities and differences across their distinct practices. When opening the exhibition, artist Neil Shawcross noted that both artists are starting to gain international attention, with Robert’s work being shown in the Agora Gallery, New
Gallery of Photography, September 9 – October 22 The result of the 2016 British referendum on the future of European Union membership has brought about a new era of social and political anxiety regarding the border between the Republic and Northern Ireland. ‘Brexit’ is a neologism that has been mobilised by ultra-conservative politicians and sections of the British media alike, to portray what was in reality a marginal ‘yes vote’, as the inevitable political expression of the zeitgeist of British isolationism and nationalism. On the island of Ireland, Brexit has resurrected the spectre of the border which has haunted Irish politics for nearly a century. Kate Nolan’s exhibition ‘Lacuna’ at
RAMON KASSAM PRESENTS A SURVEY OF CONTEMPORARY LANDSCAPE PAINTING IN IRELAND. The 1920s and 30s saw an extraordinary increase in the popularity and production of landscape paintings in Ireland. Paul Henry and Jack B. Yeats, who are currently being exhibited side by side in Limerick’s Hunt Museum, were two of the major protagonists of that era. In contrast, European painting at that time was in the throes of Modernism, producing aesthetic innovation after innovation, which was largely self-analytical and retreating into its own flatness. Such concerns seemed secondary for many Irish artists, which would suggest that motivations were being shaped by different factors. These artists did engage in self-reflexive processes,
MATT PACKER AND ALISSA KLEIST DISCUSS ‘SCISSORS CUT PAPER WRAP STONE’, A TOURING EXHIBITION BY CCA DERRY-LONDONDERRY. LIKE many curators (and indeed, artists) we often develop ideas by thinking through references or historical incidences that have little to do with contemporary art from the outset. ‘Scissors Cut Paper Wrap Stone’ is a case in point: an exhibition that developed from our discovery of a science fiction novel written in 1994 by author Ian McDonald. The novel led us to understand a rich history of sci-fi produced in Northern Ireland, of which Ian McDonald is a part. He is one in a long line of authors dating back to the late
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
March 2nd is the fast approaching date for the next set of Stormont elections. We recently wrote to all the main political parties asking about their policies for the arts. We also collated existing published information and researched new manifestos to come up with this list of party positions towards the arts in Northern Ireland. This email was sent to all the main political parties standing in the March 2nd 2017 Assembly elections.
VAI is an all Ireland body, which means that Brexit will have a clear impact on us and on all arts organisations across the island who operate either across the border or ROI collaborations with UK organisations, festivals and events. The unfortunate truth is that the fallout from the vote has already happened. The fall in Sterling has had a direct impact on organisations such as ours that receive funding from Northern Ireland. Around 19% of our funding comes from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and through our membership in Northern Ireland. With the collapse of the Sterling against the Euro this has now been reduced to around 13%.
We work exceptionally hard in the arts. Whether working day in, day out in studios, travelling the length and breadth of the country, grant-chasing, freelancing or maintaining real jobs at the fringes of day jobs, we move mountains every day. While critical reflection is an inbuilt methodology of what we do, how often do we actually pause to reflect on our progress or marvel at our achievements? As the final Visual Artists’ News Sheet of the year, this issue is positioned to consider recent developments across our sector, while assessing some of the challenges that remain.