Category Archives: review

Dougal McKenzie: A Dream and an Argument, 30 June – 8 October, 2017, the MAC, Belfast

  Whatever subject, motif, intention,  McKenzie  leans towards being a history painter born in  Scotland, a root  which he intensely identifies with as if it were palpably one living organism akin to a family.  With few exceptions, McKenzie frames and … Continue reading

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Bill Saunders: Side Steps These Ferried Measures Rise, 30 June – 24 September 2017, MAC, Belfast

  Bill Saunders named the sculptural assemblage on the floor  “…pool (floor and counting). From this angle it looks like a headless protective clothing of an explorer placed here by a tide that got muddled in arranging the other end. … Continue reading

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Diarmuid Delargy, Monotypes, 15 June- 28 July, Fenderesky Gallery, Belfast

  The cubist painter  Andre Lhote (1885 -1962) jealously  chastised  Emil Filla (1882 – 1953) for being  “plus Picassian que Picasso  lui même” – a   memory of which surfaced when I saw one particularly superb  monotype  at the  current … Continue reading

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Sharon Kelly at ArtisAnn Gallery Belfast, May 4-27 2017

Sharon Kelly watercolours with graphite  form a half of two persons exhibition titled Dissolving into ambiguity  with Lenka Davidikova( b 1980, Dolny Kubin,  Slovak Republic).  Both  graduated from the University of Ulster – 26 years apart. I have written about Kelly’s … Continue reading

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Stuart Calvin, Greater than I, May 4 – 18 2017, GTG Belfast

          Stuart Calvin wrote to me: “The process for creating the plaster forms involves pouring the plaster directly onto a flat smooth surface. Before the plaster fully sets, I shape them until they are slightly domed. … Continue reading

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Unafraid Red, April 6 – May 4, 2017, QSS Belfast

Unafraid Red  (and the following U-Yellow, U-Blue and U-White)  curated by Dr Colin Darke has been inspired by Barnett Newman’s  Who is afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue ( four paintings made between 1966 -1970 as a pun on Albee’s play)) … Continue reading

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ADRIAN O’CONNELL: INTERSTICE, March 2017, Engine Room Gallery, Belfast

The ribbon window of the gallery on second floor of this modernist building offered picturesque view over Belfast and light and calm to envelope O’Connell’s   paintings. A gentle host to the unleashed passion for the modernist idiom. Yet, it made … Continue reading

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Michael Hanna: Predictable Contact, Naughton Gallery Belfast, 16.02.17 – 26.03.17

The installation is made up of four TV monitors  and a continuous projection on the wall. The  colours and sounds of Predictable Contact,  while allowing me the freedom to play

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David Turner: A Series of Small Explosions,QSS Gallery Belfast, 23-25

Mosaics? Tapestries? Embroidery?  The look of Turner’s objects constructed from Lego Bricks or Hama Beads meanders from  an association to toys, to rules of construction controlled by gravity or frames. The sizes vary from huge Megaton #1 and #2  to … Continue reading

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BOSTON,02/02/17 – 11/0317 Belfast. Golden Thread Gallery

From the University of Massachussetts  via a dialogue at Scope NY, 2015, to the Project Space at the GTG in Belfast is a journey less startling than the  choice of making Belfast a  Sister City for Boston. Yet, in 2014 … Continue reading

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LISA GINGLES, 2 February – 3 March 2017, Fenderesky Gallery, Belfast

  ARTIST’S STATEMENT   My work is influenced by many things; mythology, folk tales and invented stories, leaving their dark side laid bare.   It is about my life, the lives of others, and sometimes the life of no one at … Continue reading

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Catherine Davison, A Kaleidoscope of Colour, QSS, Belfast, 19 -21 January 2017

Queen Street Studios started a new tradition: Flash Show offering their ground floor rooms  at 31-33 Bedford Street for  a brief exhibitions  – like a visit to a studio.   Davison’s  Kaleidoscope of Colour   is the first of a planned series, … Continue reading

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Lorraine Burrell at GTG, Belfast, May 2016

THESE DAYS ARE PERSISTENT AND CHANGEABLE is a title of an exhibition of art by Lorraine Burrell and Martin Boyle,  at the Golden Thread Gallery from 28.04 – 11.06 2016. What days are not that? Yours? Mine?  Whatever answer is … Continue reading

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SHE DEVIL

SHE DEVIL in BELFAST, Golden Thread Gallery, 17/12/2015 – 6/2/2016 I have not heard of the Italian architect who created the SHE DEVIL project. On her website (www.studiostefaniamiscetti.com) she offers impressive list of artists who responded to her invitation. It … Continue reading

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HELEN G BLAKE at Fenderesky Gallery, Belfast, 16 April – 16 May 2015

At the time of writing, this exhibition  of fourteen small paintings has not  been  documented on her website (www.helengblake.com). Their sizes around  A 4 or a one fifth bigger forge a call for privacy, not unlike  covers  or title pages … Continue reading

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Gary Shaw: Ocular, at Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, September 4 – 25, 2014

    Pristine, precise, poignant, poetic – they tell of human consciousness meticulously coding imaginative power of colour.Which one, where, how much, at what angle  – those are

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LISA STANSBIE, PLATFORM ARTS, BELFAST, 5 -26 SEPTEMBER 2014

  A photograph  of the artist who as a qualified  swimmer  obeys the rules overseen by official bodies, The Channel Swims and Piloting Federation or Channel Swimming Association. That hierarchy  is somewhat undermined by her  determined stare  signalling her being … Continue reading

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Colin Darke: Grotesque Mediocrity, Mac Belfast, 8 August – 19 October 2014

The spiral from the veritable belly of Monsieur  UBU flew over  118 years and over the distance from Paris to Belfast courtesy of an artists’ artist Dr  Colin Darke.

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Peter Liversidge: Doppelganger at MAC Belfast, 8 August -19 October, 2014

  First exhibited by Ingleby Gallery in Edinburgh  from  1st August till  21st September 2013  the  facsimiles  of  ten Max Klinger’s  etchings from 1881,  and Liversidge’ s large scale prints of them  were complemented by an imagined room, constructed in … Continue reading

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Graham Gingles at MAC, Belfast, 2014

Graham Gingles  at MAC,  August, Belfast, 2014 As Fukuyama put it: in the post-historical period there will be neither art nor philosophy, just the perpetual caretaking of the museum of human history. A phase of contemporary art has also been … Continue reading

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Molly O’Dwyer, Becoming Imperceptible, Platform Arts, Belfast, 3-23 July 2014

  This still from the video Repositioned, 2013, is becoming iconic, appearing on a poster, and  on the gallery Facebook page.   It summarises in its tacit visual mode the stable structure of unstable meaning,  when objects insist both on having an identity … Continue reading

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John Robinson, Installation, June 2014, University of Ulster, Belfast

  The following short statement  is John Robinson introduction to the two installations for the MFA final exhibition. Transfigure originates from the subtle changes of light that occur at Dawn and Dusk, in which visual awareness is heightened and a there … Continue reading

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Jennifer Trouton, Ties that Bind, 2013

  This oil on linen  differs  by its size 158 x 188 cm, from the rest of Trouton’s oeuvre I have seen. Most are  small scale still lives, 14.5 x 14.5 cm, arranged in large grids. Its width is significant … Continue reading

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Susan Connolly, Something about Some Things to do With Paint

Curated by Hugh Mulholland at MAC, Belfast, 9May – 22 June 2014 Great art and mediocrity can get confused, even by experts. But that’s why we need to see, and read, as much as we can. The more we’re exposed … Continue reading

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WILDSCAPES

The sound of Campbells work  behind the back wall saturated the whole gallery,  interfering with the viewing of works by  Moffett (on the wall) and Hughes(between the columns) Curated by Phillip McCrilly and supported by  Ben Crothers’s  substantial informative essay … Continue reading

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Alice Clark, Dispersal, Market Place Theatre and Art Centre, Armagh, 28/03 – 26/04 2014

White Cube!  Calm and confidently pretty,  it tolerates exhibits on the severe condition of no nails or screws on the walls, or anywhere. In the centre of the room the greenhouse housed a chair, writing desk and a box. Outside, … Continue reading

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this is authenticity, Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, 3-24 April 2014

  Curated by Eoin Dara the exhibition takes its name from a marketing slogan for a gated residential development Santa Elena City  in the Philippines: What is real, what is honest, what is true …this is authenticity. After that it … Continue reading

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Keith Connolly, Verbally Confirmed, Waterfront Hall, Belfast, January 10 -31, 2014

Connolly is a classical modernist – and not just for the parallel  an eye may discern between his images and those of Herbert Bayer and Laszlo Moholy Nagy,  Bauhaus greats who inspired some of his decision.

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TACTILE at Catalyst Arts, Belfast, 2014. Helen MacMahon, Polychromatic Shadow Configuration Device, 2013.

Mac Mahon lists her engagement with space and light as a dominant concept of her art practice (see http://www.helenmacmahon.com “Subject matter is simply space and light”) Before I write about her installation in some detail, I would like to introduce … Continue reading

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Susan MacWilliam: Kathleen, 2014, video, 33 minutes

To view online: http://vimeo.com/susanmacwilliam/kathleen An approximation of a video by still images and citation from the archival sources has its disadvantages. For example: loss of the rhythm at which each image stays on screen, the uncertainty that words and images … Continue reading

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Angela Halliday, Topographies: Smithfield, Belfast, 2013

This archival image from 2011 presents the new Smithfield Market  replacing the one the perished in the fire during the so called Troubles. The disappeared one is still cherished in  a charming web of stories, histories and tales, with a … Continue reading

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Cathy Henderson, Ebb and Flow. at the ADF Gallery, Belfast, 17 January – 7 March 2014

Cathy Henderson exhibited  twenty images  aiming “…to capture the transience of the coastal view: a sense of shifting skies, and the persistently fluctuating mood of weather.” (News Release January 2014).

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MOMENTUM at Catalyst Arts Belfast, 24 – 31 January 2014

Ten postgraduate students of the MFA at the University of Ulster  presented interim exhibition  in the both exhibition spaces of the CA gallery. The image on this poster is a screen grab of a video by Jonny McEwen (b 1966).Nothing moves … Continue reading

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Equilibrium? Royden Rabinowitch at the GTG Project room, 09/01/2014 – 25/01/2014

The drawing  above carries the instruction for the sculpture that appears in this exhibition. Organised in partnership with Politics Plus (www.politicsplus.com, launched on February 2oth, 2013) it aims at an elusive instrumental value of art while focusing on one work … Continue reading

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Michael Hanna, Behaviour Setting, Millennium Court Arts Centre, Portadown, 7 December – 25 January 2014

Delightful generosity of spirit and academic erudition of Dr Declan Long, who wrote the catalogue essay, have not prepared me for the visual beauty of the animation of patterns in Gallery One, nor for the  immersive environment in Gallery Two. … Continue reading

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An afternoon at MAC, Saturday, 11 January, 2014.

At  three o’clock, in front of approximately fifty viewers, Hugh O’Donnell started his performance in front of the projected video. Its subject was the weeping face of a Dutch artist who disappeared, later, in 1975, attempting to cross the Atlantic … Continue reading

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Shiro Masuyama, Borderline Project, 2013/2014

This is not a museum vitrine – it is a kind a table top at the front window of a caravan which

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FIONA LARKIN, BACKSTORY, Catalyst Arts, Belfast, 6 December 2012 -17 January 2014

The idea that something commonplace can be transfigured into exceptional has been habitually compulsorily twinned with reason and consent. Both appear at the preparatory stages of this  exhibition.

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Distributed through Space and Time, Golden Thread gallery, Belfast, December 5 2013 – January 19 2014

Curated by Sarah McAvera the exhibition takes its title from one line in Canto 1 of Pale Fire(1962) by V Nabokov. The curator limited the number of artists to three, possibly in relation to the small size of the Project … Continue reading

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SHARON KELLY and ROBIN PRICE, Process Lab, Rehearsal Room PS2, Belfast, Nov 18 -22nd, 2013

I visited this installment of Rehearsal Room series on its last day. On the wall opposite the window a continuous video of animated drawings easily competed for attention with three  large charcoal drawings on the right and  one exquisite work … Continue reading

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FORCES, Catalyst Arts, Belfast, 8-29 November 2013

Curated by Rob Hilken  the exhibition offers a chaste view on relationship of art and science. Five artists zoom on nature’s forces e.g. radiation, gravity, electricity, and magnetism, traditionally subjects of scientific investigation, appropriating them for sculpture, video and installation, … Continue reading

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John Robinson, Rehearsal Room, Part 1, PS Squared, Belfast, 30 October – 2 November 2013

The artist kindly emailed me some  images and his comments (here in a purple text colour) to compensate me for not seeing his installation. In recent work I’ve used dark spaces to create immersive atmospheres; at first I thought about … Continue reading

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TONY HILL, New Works at Fenderesky, Belfast, October 17 – November 16, 2013

This Mondrian is in a private collection, thus it is very unlikely that Hill saw it while he formulated his idea of visual art. I have included it to provide evidence for an aesthetic order many artists in Europe, two … Continue reading

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Moments of Inception, 17 Oct – 16 Nov, 2013, Queen Street Studios and Gallery, Belfast

Images courtesy Tony Corey Expanding the curatorial field Eoin Dara has chosen the unexpected.  Objects that may or may not be art, nonchalant debris of something else, birth of an idea made just about visible, or not. Dara describes his … Continue reading

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A SUBTLE MATTER at Catalyst Arts, Belfast, 3 – 25 October 2013

Curated by Amy Brooks it has her aesthetic sensitivities all over, with the exception of a rather massive box housing Emmanuelle Negre’s fantasy in light. The above image indicates

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John Brown at Fenderesky Gallery, Belfast, October 17 – November 16, 2013

Gallery Two  has an inbuilt corner, on each side of which was one image of an open book. In this photograph they are next to each other, the larger one on the back wall, the small one as if in … Continue reading

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Charles Tyrrell at Fenderesky Gallery, Belfast, 12 September – 12 October

Since 1983 the Fenderesky  Gallery developed a strong profile through single, groups, and themed exhibition.  Led by a highly educated philosopher with  discerning eye and unfailing determination to support all generations of artists, the gallery has presented  painting, sculpture, prints … Continue reading

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Hugh O’Donnell, A Passing Thought, ADF, Belfast, October 11 – November 22 2013

The Arts Disability Forum  keeps developing its exhibition program along the criteria prevalent in the contemporary art practices, while making use of social links, in this case, the 7th Outburst Queer Arts Festival. As if reading Lessing’s Laokoon, they avoid … Continue reading

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Colin Davidson, Between The Words

The Naughton Gallery at Queens hosted Davidson’s ‘large heads’ from 4th September until 6th October  2013.  All exhibits were reproduced in a  catalogue with a lively forward by Simon Callow and Conversation with Shan  McAnena. Davidson proposed to explore large … Continue reading

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Ursula Burke

URSULA  BURKE Hope for a better past, MAC Belfast, 30 August – 13 October 2013-09-03 The title of this exhibition reminds me of the last verse in  a poem by Seamus Heaney:..”.hope and history rhyme” . In a gentle manner … Continue reading

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