Jack Pakenham is interesting in juxtaposition to artist Sandi
Slone for whom science fiction eventually determine reality.
Among Slone’s worlds of transparent layers are buildings
that traject like missiles and theatrical tableaux’s
of aliens that are photo-transferred onto the painting. In
her mixed-media works, science mirrors science fiction. Slone
maps a world where the fractal quality of the evolved terrain
meets the random throw of the dice of history. Einstein assured
us God wouldn’t “play dice with our universe?”
Without imagery Edward Shalala’s work is its unembellished
manufacture. Drawing, painting is the transformation from
canvas to paper. This “de fabrication” or materialization
contains a kinetic potential that also articulates creative
processing. It is a mode of thinking culled from the surrounding
culture and applied to end game painting. “These works
refer to the transformative power in art and also to recycling
Artery w/ Royce Harper
Belfast TV 2006
Through Our Eyes: New York (in Belfast)
Animal imagery used as metaphor is exampled by the work of
Adele Pound. Like Ima Pico, her work questions notions of
transplantation, relocation and what it is to swim in unknown
waters, a very small fish, in not so big a pond. From a neutral
position, she surveys the waters, noting territorial markers,
symbols of belonging, the bottom feeders.
Ruth McCullough is a mixed media artist whose recent work
incorporates “dreamscapes” and architectural confections.
Castles and images from American movies evoke our earliest
childhood sensations, being on the outside and dreaming. The
work uses feelings of isolation, mixed with everyday and foreign
experiences. McCullough explores this dynamic through touch,
smell and taste that control our entry into a new, unexplored
In Maura Sheehan’s Night Flight silhouettes of birds
in flight install themselves within the confines of architecture.
Birds migrate across the room in dizzying optical poetry.
This installation has been compared to stop motion photography
of Muybridge and to the films of Alfred Hitchcock. The architectural
wall becomes the great divide between inside and outside,
body and shadow, life and death. Seen as the birds see, on
which side are we?
Emma Connolly depicts a hotel carpet. Nothing could seem
more mundane, yet when it is known that the carpet is from
the Europa Hotel Belfast, and that it is one of the most bombed
hotels in the world, the carpet assumes new meaning. Added
to this is the pattern on the carpet, Lascaux-like scenes
of beast hunting, mauling and chasing each other. The artists
depiction of empty chairs placed near the top of the composition
becomes a metaphor not just for those unable to take their
seats (because they are no longer with us), but also perhaps
for the untaken seats at the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Ray Duncan considers our sense of self, the face we present
to the world, through the medium of portraiture, and has depicted
people who have suffered severe facial damage through Troubles
related injury. His painting I Love shows a girls face through
a plastic mask, worn as part of the healing process, the face
having been rendered unrecognizable by the 1998 Omagh bomb.
Beginning on September 11, 2001, Mimi Gross unable to sleep,
walked over to Ground Zero three blocks away. Night after
night she made a series of ink drawings directly observing
the activity of Ground Zero, getting to know policemen, firemen,
and volunteer workers. Her drawings capture the humanity amidst
the horror. Some of these Days includes the poetry of Charles
Bernstein, independently written in response to the events
Jennifer Trouton has examined Northern Irish history with
an acute perception and realism. Her paintings evoke the sense
of emptiness and stillness found in abandoned houses, where
utensils remain to rust and fireplaces, once the warm focal
points of rooms are unlit and unattended. This is melded with
personal legacy where heirlooms and ornaments are rendered
exactingly. Painting on top of old wallpaper fragments, these
images again become part of the fabric where memories were
Before 9/11 there were no buildings in Mark O’Grady’s
work. After 9/11 O’Grady indicates the ghost of buildings
through geometric abstraction. The tool of the artist comes
up against the hard and finite two-dimensional plane. O’Grady
speaks to us through the engagement of his surface boundary.
With its internal lines a building is like a body, which experiences
life and loss, back and forth.
The human body daubed and coloured in a tribal way, echoes
ancient rituals from Aboriginals to the Celts. The human body
therefore is not only as an aesthetic surface in itself, but
also a container for forces of energy.
Katy Martin’s prints confute inside with outside, container
and contentn act and imprint, multiplicity and singularity.
“I work in a world where race is really important and
I work painting my skin.” A painted body rolls across
a wall, it is in black and white. What we are and what we’re
made is told in paint
Ima Pico’s digital images manipulate the female form.
Often the women are covered in signs and symbols, part of
the artist’s private vocabulary which speaks about personal
position, and cultural identity in the face of relocation
to unfamiliar ground. Finding oneself living in a country
with a complex socio-historic background, with ambiguities
and nuances difficult for natives even to understand, has
profound implications for ones identity.
Jo Wood-Brown’s work is a collaborative conversation
between two existences. Her live and painted imagery moves
back and forth from the world of the imagination to the real
world and repositions the boundaries. The painting Audience
4 Ort, #2 and the multi media work Free Speech that incorporates
saxophone phrases, are about responsiveness and association.
Her work simultaneously listens and hears and comes to fully
realize both the piece and the audience’s engagement
Untitled (Dream) locates us somewhere in the purposeful disorientation
of its process and in the photographic hyperclarity. Gwenn
Thomas’ fabric collages transition to digital photos
and transition again onto photosensitized artists canvas;
pieces of history that make their way into the present and
the future. These swatches of material are private memorials
that are here and then gone. Thomas’ pigment prints
blur the boundaries of medium as Wood-Brown does between the
imagination and the physical world.
Peter Richards has made extensive use of the pin hole camera
to document his debate surrounding the question “ what
is a photograph, what is a performance’, given that
in much of his work, the audience are located within the camera.
Titanic is made up of positive and negative exposures that
enable the interpreted and the interpretation to fuse as a
single entity. The photograph combines two ideas, that of
the memorial and that of the Titanic collision. Richards has
explored the nature of public memorials in Belfast and how
they express choices made between what will be forgotten of
history and what will be remembered. The Titanic, built in
the shipyards of Belfast is a shared symbol of disaster.
After 9/11 April Vollmer began to think about the defacement
of memory and personal history. In Thinking of You arm bones
form a temple-like structure around the skulls of ancestors.
Like a Tibetan Thanka the infinite heads project into the
past as well as the future. They lie on virulent green leaves.
Vollmer’s digital and virtual thinking visually expresses
the transformation of culture from one adaptation to the next.
Bill Brand uses his body as a projection screen, an innovative
way of joining his person with his history. Suite explores
Brand’s family’s history of kidney disease in
tangential symmetry with outside events. The film and the
artist are treated in ways that include both Eastern and Western
ideology. In Moxibuxton a filmstrip is acupunctured. Light
apertures intermingle with the artist treatment and through
these holes we also see passages of the surrounding Maine
landscape. We see as if the camera were embodied from the
inside looking out.
In Through Our Eyes: Belfast/New York, we see cross connections,
similarities and differences. There is a first time visitor
to New York and the first time visitor to Belfast. In New
York, via popular culture, TV and Film, one experiences sense
of familiarity albeit clichéd: for example yellow taxis,
skyscrapers, etc. In Belfast, the visitor is surprised with
the normalcy of everyday life as opposed to media images of
One learns to move into new territories of awareness, more
places of connection.
We can group and regroup these artists and with each grouping
find new meanings. There is journey in much of the work; sometimes
it is outer and sometimes inner, and sometimes both. The work
marks or memorializes process along the way. Cosmic and natural
forces, from the cyclical to the unpredictable, inspire. When
the mundane informs the subject matter, objects become symbols
of something that is “other” than ordinary. The
cultures talk to each other. Art is the memory of the world.
What is it remembering?