I remember how it made me feel…. Jane Butler

Jane Butler’s research-led practice focuses on the experience of trauma and the relationship of body and mind to external environments. Her architectural interventions, installations and photography-based works are informed by elusive memories and neurological effects.

‘I remember how it made me feel’ is an accumulation of her work during two years on the Freelands Artists Programme. This exhibition serves as a meditative place to sit and reflect.

Jane Butler is an artist and organiser specialising in public and site-specific projects. Butler received a BA Fine Art (Sculpture) from Ulster University in 2009. She has produced projects in partnership with Belfast City Council, PLACE and TULCA Visual Arts Festival, Galway. Butler was a Co-Director and chair of Catalyst Arts (2012-2015). She is currently a Co-Director of Household, who work collaboratively with artists, writers, curators and the public to develop thought provoking projects in the public realm. She is also an active member of Array Collective; a group of Belfast-based artists who create collaborative actions in response to issues affecting Northern Ireland, who recently won the Turner Prize 2021 in the Herbert Coventry Museum, with their installation The Druthaibs Ball, 2021.

Claire Barclay: Thrum

Claire Barclay is a visual artist recognised for producing large-scale sculptural installations created in response to specific contexts.  Her works are immersive sensory experiences that explore our interactions with materials and functionality, by combining formal elements that evoke thinking around the “psychological relationships between human beings and the objects that we live with and produce.”

In this exhibition Barclay includes a series of tactile sculptural environments, where large-scale forms, made predominantly from fabrics and metals, “suggest textile narratives and explore our complex relationships with cloth.”

Historical connections between the West of Scotland and Northern Ireland have become a focus while evolving the artworks.  More specifically, interactions and migrations of people due to work, trade, religion and colonisation, and how these relationships relate to textile production.  In particular, Ayrshire ‘whitework’ embroidery, linen cloth production, and indigenous dress have informed some of the formal and material choices within the sculptures.

Domestic, industrial and agricultural references are interwoven into ambiguous sculptural forms that explore the nature of human engagement in ‘making’ practices and our cultural and symbolic relationships with materials.

Taking inspiration from a range of reference points, including historical artefacts, museum collections, craft practices, methods and places of production, and anthropological perspectives, the work plays with upsetting conventional hierarchies and assumptions in relation to value and meaning of materials and forms.  Often the works indirectly question present day romanticisation and commodification of craft and heritage and provoke us to question our own relationship to these.

Visit https://themaclive.com/exhibition/claire-barclay-thrum for more details

Skull Drawings

Skull is an ongoing live event that has been running monthly since 2016. The Black Box website describes Skull as, “a night of recorded music and live drawing” and, “an escape” from what is termed, “…the relentless agora.”* “DJs Stuart Watson, Ryan Fitzsimmons, Jeff Doherty and guests develop an aural envelope each evening, whilst illustrator Duncan Ross strives to capture the consciousness of the moment through the inky medium of illustration. Adventurous punters may submit suggestions to Ross for realisation on the eve or, if feeling particularly exploratory, can contribute with the fruits of their own ductus (materials provided).”

For this installation, Ross is presenting two hundred A1 drawings improvised during Skull alongside a new, large scale print work. In conversation with the images, Skull DJs have prepared a variety of sonic interventions that will take place throughout the exhibition, retaining the Geist of Skull as an ephemeral multi-sensory event.

Join us for a CQAF Skull on 28th April at the Black Box. Escape the relentless agora in a nite of recorded music and live drawing. DJs Jeff Doherty and Ryan Fitzsimmons develop an aural envelope each evening, whilst illustrator Duncan Ross strives to capture the consciousness of the moment through the inky medium of illustration. Adventurous clientèle may submit suggestions to Ross for realisation on the eve or, if feeling particularly exploratory, can contribute with the fruits of their own ductus (materials provided).


SWADDLE Dominic McKeown

28/04/22 – 13/05/22. Opening: 5pm – 8pm. Open: Tuesday – Friday 11am – 5pm
Address: 109 – 113 Royal Avenue, Belfast BT1 1FF

The University of Atypical is delighted to invite you to SWADDLE, a thought provoking new exhibition by Dominic McKeown. Dominic received the University of Atypical’s Graduate Award 2020, with this support Dominic has received mentoring from artists Maud Cotter and Dr Colin Darke in the preparation for his first solo exhibition.

McKeown’s work stems from years of exploration into the relationship between the body, materials and structures that envelop us. SWADDLE explores our physical contact and psychological relationship with materials from our past and present experiences, our public and private spaces.

SWADDLE invites us to consider the material value of not only the architectural space of the gallery, but relationship between the viewer and the sculptural work within it. Devised to activate a self-awareness of our own presence within space and the intimacy of scale.

When we’re born, we are swaddled in cotton wool; protected from the beginning. The combination of concrete paired with woollen textiles creates tension between the materials and what we expect or understand their function to be. This contrast encourages the viewer to reflect on personal security, confront self-awareness and the conditioning of identity. Using found textile materials, the sculptures aim to embody our knowledge of architectural spaces incorporating items associated with protection, feeling safe or sheltered and personal identity expressed through dress.

We understand concrete as a vigorous material, by wrapping it in wool its hard exterior is cushioned protecting its exposed and vulnerable surface. A mask can provide confidence, security and soften external strains.

Dominic McKeown (b.1995, Belfast) studied Textile Design, Art and Fashion at Ulster University graduating in 2014. He has based his research and practice within his hometown of Belfast, completing a Masters in Fine Art at Ulster University in 2020. He is a member of Flax Art Studios and is an active worker within the art community within Belfast. He is a Co-Director of Catalyst Arts alongside working as freelance art technician.
For more information – d.mck.art (instagram)

Open: Tuesday – Friday 11am – 5pm
Address: 109 – 113 Royal Avenue, Belfast BT1 1FF
T: 028 90239450
E: administration@universityofatypical.org
W: www.universityofatypical.org

Flax Project Space presents ‘Becoming’

Private View: Thursday 28th April, 6pm – 9pm
Exhibition Dates: 28th April – 5th May, 1pm – 6pm
Flax Project Space, 7 North St, BT1 1NH, Belfast.

‘Becoming’ is a group exhibition featuring artists whose work explores how our artistic practices transition and transform over time.

The exhibition offers a range of enquiries into the idea of ‘becoming’, including reflections on how, considering Covid-19, many artists are now emerging from a form of hibernation, their work changed by a sustained period of not being able to share it. Years spent feeding their practices in the dark, to see only now what they have become. Curated by artist and researcher Hattie Godfrey, ‘Becoming’ presents the artist’s practice as a being that holds the possibility of change, a being that is always becoming.

Flax Art Studios Emerging Artist Programme is a satellite project of 34 recent graduate and emerging artists occupying 7 North St, Belfast. To coincide with this programme Flax opened a project space on the ground floor, providing opportunities for the artists involved to curate and programme their own exhibitions and events.

Dress Up Drink And Draw

Bedroom Pop is a colourful installation by Dreambean that explores childhood memories, identity and celebrates queer joy. Dreambean aims to create an inclusive space for everyone, they want the viewers to be curious and explore art through their immersive use of colour and humour.

For the Cathedral Arts Festival Dreambean is hosting a ‘dress up drink and draw’ at Catalyst Arts. The general public will be encouraged to queer the streets of Belfast, dress up as someone or in something that sparks joy, or simply dust off an old halloween costume.

The aim of this ‘dress up drink and draw’ is to allow the participants to become apart of Bedroom Pop and take on the role of the Artist by exploring the gallery space through a different identity.

Dreambean believes that we have missed enough parties over the last few years and wants to take this opportunity to bring the community together through art and celebration!

We Are Here

Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast and Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda announce a collaborative exhibition partnership presenting WE ARE HERE, Artists’ Moving Image from the British Council Collection and LUX.

‏Exploring themes of marginality and its representation, community, storytelling, world-building and critically reframing histories, these linked exhibitions present films from SONGS OF A FORGOTTEN PAST, one of five artists’ film programmes curated by Tendai John Mutambu for the British Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, and LUX, an international arts agency that supports and promotes artists’ moving image practices.

The two exhibitions and programme of events at Golden Thread Gallery and Highlanes Gallery are separate but in conversation with each other; different interpretations from different places, with visits from each side of the border to the other gallery offering a chance to see the films from each other’s ‘here’.

HOW DID WE GET TO: WE ARE HERE? At the Golden Thread Gallery

‏The artists’ films being shown across both our main galleries explore possibilities for new ways of seeing the world from the point of view of those who are marginalised and excluded from dominant cultural narratives and images; those which reflect an accepted, assumed meaning of ‘being from here’ and ‘belonging’. Reframing the question of how we all came to be here offers a prompt to disrupt, to play with and perhaps even to move beyond old ideas.

‏Northern Ireland, overwhelmingly white for centuries, is now experiencing unprecedented levels of migration. What is it like for new arrivals here to have to navigate the complexities and nuance of Northern Ireland’s identity politics? Sectarianism has been a poisonously fertile ground for racism in some areas. The shifting territories of Brexit and Covid create fear and uncertainty, easily turned upon those who ‘don’t belong’. Yet there has also been significant solidarity, genuine welcome and a recognition among NI citizens that those who come ‘from outside’ can represent an opportunity to move beyond long-calcified beliefs about ‘them’ and ‘us’.

‏On this island, at this time, with changing populations and ever-shifting senses of identity, engaging with a different way of exploring relationships to home, place, nationality and representation may perhaps lead to many ‘heres’ that are unexpected.

The Beatles Bungalow – Michael Donald Exhibition

Peter Jackson’s highly acclaimed recent film, Get Back, offers a rare insight into the creative process of the Beatles as they finished recording the album Let it Be.

Much of the album was written in the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram in Rishikesh in the foothills off the Himalayas in northern India where the band sought spiritual solace and an escape from the trappings of fame. The ashram, while still open to the public has now fallen into decay and is a ruin slowly being swallowed up by the surrounding forest. 

The photographer, Michael Donald, visited the site in 2020 to make a record of the place before it disappears back into the mountains. The ghosts of the band are ever present in the crumbling paint of the bungalow where they lived for much of 1968 writing what would become, Let it Be.


Bbeyond – New Commission Artists 2021/22

Bbeyond’s New Commission Artists 2021/22 Niamh Seana Meehan and Nina Oltarzewska will be performing as part of the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival on Thursday the 5th of May at the Flax Art Studio building, High Street.

Niamh Seana Meehan – 9am – 5pm. and Nina Oltarzewska – 7pm

Nina Oltarzewska
Nina Oltarzewska is a French artist born in 1998 and based in Belfast. Oltarzewska works with sound, video and performance as well as sculpture and installation. She grew up in France and moved to Belfast in 2017 to start a Foundation year in Art and Design at the Belfast School of Art. In July 2021 Oltarzewska completed her BA(Hons) Fine Art at the Belfast School of Art. She has since received five graduate awards from the following institutions: Bbeyond, Platform Arts, Pollen, the University of Atypical and PS2. She will be commencing a Fine Art Masters at the Chelsea School of Art and Design (UAL) in September 2022.

Niamh Seana Meehan
Niamh Seana Meehan is a visual artist based in Northern Ireland.

‘I work in-between visual art, writing and performance. A central theme within my practice is the slippages involved within the translation of thought to text. Textual projects I create often want to jump off the page and form rhythms, movements, or patterns for repetition. These qualities become catalysts for discussion and by implementing performative methods it enables them to anticipate their narrative. Will they be a performance, an audio work, a sculpture or remain textual? On-going interests within my practice include ambiguity, nothingness, doubts, and failure.’

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