Expanded Studio Project: Belfast and Nottingham, curated by Jane Morrow

Expanded Studio Project: Belfast and Nottingham, curated by Jane Morrow and Deirdre Morrissey. March- August 2019.

Participating artists based in Belfast:
Alex Brunt; Barry Mulholland; Hannah McBride; Declan Proctor; Esther O’Kelly;
Zara Lyness; Gerard Carson; Sinéad Bhreathnach-Cashell; Robin Price; Jackie Wylie; Thomas Wells; Heather Dornan Wilson; Sinead McKeever
; Grace McMurray.

This project invites dialogue and exchange between 14 Belfast-based visual artists, and 14 counterparts from Primary- Nottingham.
The project is designed to offer a catalyst for new collaborations, the production of new work, exposure to different skills and approaches, and an enhanced network of practitioners, organisations and audiences in another region of the UK.
The Belfast participants are based across different artists studios in Belfast. These include:
QSS (Queen St Studios); FLAX Studios; Array Studios; Creative Exchange Artists Studios;
Platform Arts; Pollen Studios;

What form will the project take?
The content of the programme will be generated by the participants to remain bespoke and responsive to their needs. Self-directed activity will be encouraged between collaborating pairs – in the form of presentations/ performances/ screenings, a website and artist-facing sharing mechanism. Public and more broadly peer-facing outcomes include a touring exhibition between both sites, and a symposium/ knowledge sharing event. Proposed considerations throughout:

-How do Belfast and Nottingham differ as places to work/ live as artists?
-How do our cities, as cities of culture, continue to support individual artists, studios and the sector?
How might divergent media/ approaches find commonalities?
- How do both Belfast and Midlands-based artists feel about working together and further afield after Brexit?
-Why artists travel - how do we navigate the 'luxury' of being able to travel freely? And why is it important to have a wide network and collaborate nationally and internationally?

A highly successful pilot programme for The Expanded Studio Programme ran in late 2014/ early 2015 with artists from Primary and Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge, entering into a three-month period of dialogue and exchange catalyst for new collaborations, producing new work over a four-month period of exchange. You can read more about this pilot project here.
This project was initiated and cuarted by PS² Curator in Residence Jane Morrow and is now curated by Deirdre Morrissey.


Participanting artists based in Belfast

Alex Brunt
(b. Belfast, Northern Ireland)
‘I work across a range of media including sound, text, ceramics, performance and photography. Central to my practice are themes of touch,agency and fragmentation. The works often depict visceral compositions of movement,sound and recordings of touch. Threaded throughout my work is the reference of skin in an attempt to evoke the psychological and visceral qualities of experience.
Recent work including ‘touch her hand, feel her voice’ explores a psychological portrait of resistance. The female voice is used to depict the presence of suffocation, removal and belonging. The piece consists of a poetic dialogue that reads in both Arabic and English portraying the experience of women living in the occupied Palestinian territories and the experience of the occupation. In addition, another recent work, ‘as stems reach in silent rooms’ consist of a series of ceramic forms. The work holds subtle traces of movement and touch; limb like forms. The work depicts the presence of growth and decay as a constant bodily movement.
For more information see.

Barry Mulholland
Barry Mulholland is a Belfast based Visual Artist and studio member at Flax Artist’s Studios. Postgrad MA in Visual Arts Practices at Institute of Art, Design & Technology (IADT) Dublin, 2015 and BA Fine Art in Ulster University, 2012. Previously a co-director of Platform Arts and co-founder of South Studios, Belfast. Awards include, 2012 winner of The Taylor Art Award, RDS Visual Arts Awards, Dublin.
’My practice is an inquiry into material exploration and process understanding within painting, drawing and sculpture. Using new technologies such as laser cutters and 3D Printing, I attempt to extend artwork into layered objects of interest. Art objects that are aesthetic and combine material re-assembly within a veneer of playful mystery. I invoke references to esoteric symbolism and unorthodox narratives within architectural forms. The work is physical and material heavy.
I am influenced by concepts of labour production, socio-political issues, post-conflict and folklore.’
For more information see.

Hannah McBride
Hannah McBride graduated from Belfast School of Art in 2012 with an undergraduate degree in Fine Art, and in 2017 with a master's degree in Fine Art with distinction. She has worked with a number of artist-run spaces in Belfast, and held solo shows in Satis House (2012) and Pollen Gallery (2017). In 2016 McBride represented Platform Arts as part of Supermarket Art Fair in Stockholm, Sweden, and later that year undertook a month-long residency with SIM, Reykjavik, Iceland. Her practice centres around politics of space and place and formally explores the point at which painting, sculpture and installation converge, often taking the trope of the landscape as a starting point.
For more information see.

Declan Proctor
Within his practice Declan Proctor explores the phenomena of natural light, using it as his main material. This exploration derives from personal experiences and childhood memories with the encounter of natural light.
Proctor creates site-specific installations, inviting the viewer to experience his work and the surrounding architecture through colour, reflection and shadow. Coloured Perspex is used to alter expectation and perception on how we view the interior and exterior space. Inspired by local architecture, metal is used to produce sculptures, experimenting with shadow, line and linear space. Each work highlights particular aspects of the space they inhabit. The view and natural light from a window is an important element in his work to date, existing as important components to create his installations.
For more information see.


Esther O’Kelly
Esther O’Kelly is a visual artist, her work explores the Irish Landscape and sense of place. She has had Solo shows in the UK and Ireland. Esther is a graduate of The National College of Art and Design in Dublin and is currently a trustee at Vault Artist Studio Belfast.
For more information see.
Instagram: @estherokelly

Zara Lyness
Since graduating in 2017, Zara Lyness has completed a graduate residency year at Ulster University alongside developing an external practice in Pollen Studios, gaining experience in curation and administration via Goose Lane Gallery, R-Space Gallery, Lisburn and Bbeyond.
Through performance and sculptural objects, often combining both, the value and significance of objects and materials, (implied and perceived), is an underlying motive in the forms she makes.
Time, memory, connections and relationships influence her interdisciplinary methods, linked to themes of gender, barriers and permissions. Through play, ritual, repetition and autobiography, Lyness shares recognised symbols and stories, creating connections and accessing histories to make sense of new experiences which enables recognition and a space for dialogue. 
Her material choices and processes include fragility, absurdity, what is precious and refining techniques. From whole to deteriorating forms, action and being, diverse materials, she hopes to convey a sense of time, presence and shared memories.
For more information see.
Instagram: @z.lyness

Gerard Carson
Gerard Carson is an artist based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, working primarily in sculpture, video, and animation. His practice is concerned with contingent materials and techno-industrial production, using a range of composite materials and casting processes. He is a current co-director with Platform Arts Gallery & Studios and a member of QSS Studios. Carson is a graduate from the Ulster University School of Art & Design (2010) and the Chelsea College of Arts (2015). He also forms part of the collaborative project "Goo Notorious", alongside London based artist Andrew Rickett.
For more information see.

Sinéad Bhreathnach-Cashell
Sinéad Bhreathnach-Cashell investigates ways of engaging people in creative expression through co-operative play. This kalidoscopic practice includes interactive installations; drawing; performance; workshops and curating. In 2007 she received a BA Fine and Applied Art and was awarded the Deans Prize from the University of Ulster. She has participated in artist exchanges in Canada, Chile, China, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Poland, the UK, Uruguay and USA. Her work has been exhibited in alternative spaces, national museums and international festivals including Galerie SAW, National Museum of Poznan and the National Review of Live Art. Sinéad is currently based in Flax Studios, Belfast.
For more information see.

Robin Price
Robin’s work centres on interactivity and technological interventions. He alters everyday devices so that the devices can be seen anew. By basing his interactive works on commonly understood objects he gives his audience a shortcut into how his new devices function while challenging the audiences’ old notion of how they should. Robin’s work examines the playful possibilities of old and new (and sometimes specially invented) technologies.Robin is currently based at Vault Studios, Belfast.
For more information see.

Jackie Wylie
Dr. Jacqueline Wylie is currently based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Her socially engaged practice explores how value is assigned to creativity. Working with a variety of materials (including textiles, photography, text, and social media) her current focus is on the ethics of social media use, particularly space/location and identity through the medium of constructed and documentary photography.
Wylie initially trained as an archaeologist, specialising in industrial archaeology and vernacular architecture. In 2017 she completed a PhD at Ulster University, producing a study of contemporary visual artists’ use of social media and the consequences on their studio practice. In the same year Wylie relocated her studio base from Rogue Studios, Manchester to Creative Exchange, East Belfast, beginning a period of research and reflection, aiming to produce a substantial body of new photographic work for exhibition in 2019/20.
Jackie is based at Creative Exchange Artists Studios.
For more information see.

Thomas Wells
I am an artist and community art worker in Belfast. Having lived across the UK, I am interested
in post-industrial urban environments, in particular the navigation of Queer identity in a
working class environment. My current work is looking at ‘Camp’ and what is it?
Performance led and site based, my practice is concerned with how everyday decisions affect
the rest of your life. Slightly dramatic, the continuing drive is to look at how an individual
navigates through the day to day. As the work is site led, I respond directly to the narrative of a
current environment; accommodation, relationships, financial security and legacy are all
elements that underpin the anxiety of my narrative.
Co-Director – Catalyst Arts
Project Assistant – Household
Studio Member – Array Studios
For more information see.

Heather Dornan Wilson
Belfast born Heather Dornan Wilson holds a B.Ed in Drama & English, BA in Fine and Applied Arts and a Masters in Applied Art. She was selected for bursaries through Arts & Business and received several awards from ACNI and Lisburn & Castlereagh Borough Council She creates work for exhibition and residencies, both home and abroad and has won tenders for large-scale public sculpture and sculptural awards. ​
Within her cross disciplinary practice, Heather was commissioned as a research collaborator working with Maiden Voyage Dance Company & Dance Resource Base, with the NI Science Festival, through Ulster University School of Psychology and the Department for Research and Innovation and was an invited artist on PICP, a European funded project creating dialogue around arts, transition and prisons. She also curates, instigates and project manages innovative art interventions with mak9, creating events and experiences that give insight into art processes, creative thinking and the enjoyment of materials. Heather is currently based at Creative Exchange Artists Studios, East Belfast
For more information see.

Sinead McKeever
Northern Irish born Sinead McKeever lives in Belfast where she graduated Master of Fine Art with Distinction in 2008 at Belfast School of Art, University of Ulster. She works from QSS Studios and Art Gallery, Belfast. McKeever’s practice is process led, drawing, sculptural objects and site-responsive installations inhabit and challenge boundaries. These navigated sculptural environments are proposals for addressing the present to be experienced. Sinead is currently based at QSS studios Belfast.
For more information see.

Grace McMurray
Grace McMurray (b. 1985 Rathfriland, Northern Ireland) studied BA (Hons) Fine Art Sculpture, Wimbledon College of Art (2005-08). Selected Solo Exhibition: Woven Polyhedra, University of Ulster, Belfast (2018). Selected Group Exhibitions include: 250 th Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London (2018); Jerwood Drawing Prize, Jerwood Space, London (2017); Jerwood Drawing Prize, Falmouth Art Gallery, England (2016); Synthetic Aesthetics, Leitrim Scupture Centre, Manorhamilton, Ireland (2012); Watershed, Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre, Hong Kong (2010).
Awards include: David Todd/Landmark Fine Art Prize, Second Prize (2008). She lives and works between Rathfriland and Belfast.
For more information see.

This project is funded by a Belfast City Council.

Image: Forager Collective is Cooking, 2017.

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