Due to the current Covid-19 restrictions the wonderful exhibition ‘Put It To The People‘ by Joy Gerrard is currently closed to the public. In lieu of being able to see the artworks in real life, we are delighted to bring you this unique and in-depth interview with the artist. Exhibitions Officer Mary Stevens speaks to Joy about the exhibition, her art practice, and plans for the future in a fascinating conversation which provides unique insight into this exceptional artist’s work.
Filmed and edited by Simon Mills. With thanks to Joy Gerrard, Arts Council NI and Belfast City Council.
The run of ‘Put It To The People’ is extended to 18th December, so book your visit now from our reopening on 14th Novembre!
Perhaps Our Awakening Is Our Deeper Dream by Thomas Brezing is an exploration of human mortality, made in the wake of the death of the artist’s mother.
While the exhibition’s run in our Project Space was unfortunately cut short by the latest Covid-19 restrictions, Thomas has used the documentation photographs by Simon Mills to create this new short film tour of the artworks, with unique insight into its creation and his inspirations.
About the Exhibition
The exhibition consisted of works on paper – incorporating drawing, painting, print, poetic texts and collage – as well as four large artist books and an installation which quietly address fundamental existential questions: the transience, impermanence and fragile nature of our lives (and selves). The range of media and of modes of presentation reflects the artist’s interest in investigating different kinds of image-making and different ways of representing self, other, and the ties that bind us and which are loosed by death. This formal exploration mirrors the philosophical preoccupations captured in the exhibition’s title: the nature of consciousness, of reality itself.
The title image presents a central motif of the exhibition in which birds – creatures of both earth and sky – are emblems of grounded transcendence.
About the Artist:
Thomas Brezing is a Dublin based multi-disciplinary artist. His choice and use of materials is often intuitive, the product of experiment and improvisation. He enjoys allowing the work evolve on its own terms so that over time it finds its own form and determines its finished state. Time, loss, memory, absence are abiding concerns, as is his investigation of the nature of identity and, for him, the umbilical connections between his ‘German past’ and his ‘Irish present’.
About the Curator:
Sharon Murphy is an artist and curator based in Dublin. She has commissioned public art in a range of contexts and been curator-in-residence at Draíocht Art Centre since 2017. Murphy has curated and produced large and small-scale visual art projects and exhibitions in both gallery and public art contexts since 2009. Her work as a curator at Draíocht has been committed to the practice of emerging and mid-career artists and has focused on interdisciplinary practice, visual culture/new technologies, performance and work for children and young people.
Thanks to support from the Community Foundation NI New Needs award, the Golden Thread Gallery has created a new paid internship role for an individual who identifies as a member of the Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. Following interviews last month, we are delighted to welcome Esther Andare to the team!
“I’m Esther, the new BAME intern, I will be joining the gallery for six months. I’ve lived in Belfast for the past three years studying History at Queen’s. I’m headed into this role with the aim of improving participation of ethnic minorities at the GTG, and highlighting the work of often under-represented artists from an ethnic minority. I’m also excited to expand my knowledge of what happens behind the scenes of an art gallery!”
The internship is a training role which will include working with the gallery team and volunteers, liaising with artists and arts organisations, learning about arts funding in Northern Ireland and beyond, developing outreach activities, exhibition assistance, and visitor experience across the Gallery’s programme and range of activities.
Throughout the 6-month period as Esther gains experience and new skills across the gallery’s operations, she will also work with us to devise a new series of workshops, talks and online events specifically targeted at participants from Northern Ireland’s growing multi-ethnic communities.
We’re excited to have Esther on board, and look forward to working with her!
Today’s GTG Workshop is a colourful and fun activity for a cold and grey day – making a beautiful abstract sun collage, inspired by legendary African-American artist and teacher Alma Thomas. Chloe Morrison guides you through step-by-step, and you can download the worksheet too!
You will need:
A sheet of white paper or card
Glue or Pritt Stick
A pair of suitable scissors
Coloured paper (alternatively, you can use paint sample cards, scraps of fabric, or magazine clippings)
A circular or cylindrical object to trace around, e.g., a tin, jar, glass, bottle or vase
Alma Woodsey Thomas (1891 – 1978) was an African American abstract painter. Her works are renowned for their distinctive brushstrokes and exuberant use of colour. Alma Thomas applied vivid shades of paint to her canvases in short, precise patches, creating irregular, striking patterns. She would often arrange these marks in vertical stripes or concentric circles.
In Thomas’s circular works, rings of colours appear to radiate out from a central point, like rays of light emanating from the sun.
Golden Thread Gallery is delighted to welcome Katharine Paisley to the gallery staff team, as our new Gallery Assistant. It was a long wait for us all, as lockdown delayed our recruitment process!
In this role Katharine will provide assistance and support across the Gallery’s programme and range of activities, from liaising with artists, institutions and funders to general administration, exhibition assistance and introducing visitors to our new Covid-19 gallery guidelines when they arrive.
Katharine is a visual artist whose work is currently focused on creating representational oil paintings and experimental videos which explore the evidence behind the Anthropocene. She is a resident emerging artist at Flax Art Studios, and completed a BA Fine Art degree at the University of Central Lancashire.
Golden Thread Gallery is supported by Arts Council NI and Belfast City Council.
Inspired by a fragment of an old song, Golden Thread Gallery director Peter Richards had an idea for an entirely new kind of exhibition, one that could overcome the distances forced between artists and curators worldwide by the Covid-19 pandemic. Not Alone is an exhibition in a bottle, containing eight new works from some of the leading artists on this island: Graham Gingles, Joy Gerrard, Sharon Kelly, John Rainey, Chloe Austin, Ailbhe Greaney, Megan Doherty and Clare Gallagher. Each has created a piece of art tiny or portable enough to fit inside a glass bottle, yet powerful enough to convey vast philosophies, stories and ideas, and endless possibilities of interpretation.
Packed up, the exhibition will now be sent out into our strange new world to international curators who will each mount the exhibition/s in their own homes. Installing and arranging the works in their space as they see fit, they will each create a new configuration, new context and new connections for the exhibition.
They will then pack Not Alone back into its bottle, and send it on to the next destination. At this moment in time it is on its way to Bologna, Italy, where the first curator, Chiara Matteucci, is waiting.
And after that, it will go to Rome, and then Amsterdam, and then… to destinations as yet unknown. It may never return, but we will follow its journey around Europe and share each iteration of the exhibition online.
Read the full story of the inspiration for this unique exhibition for our times, including more information on the artists and the artworks, in the presentation below.
GTG Director and curator Peter Richards is available for interview, as are the artists involved.
Notes to editors: Golden Thread Gallery (GTG) has played an important role in the provision of contemporary visual art in Belfast and Northern Ireland since it was established in 2001. Our mission is to present quality and innovative artistic programmes that capture the diversity of contemporary arts practice, and which engage, educate, challenge and inspire. We strive to build and engage the widest possible audience for contemporary arts, extending the reach of the arts, nurturing a deep understanding and enjoyment of current visual arts practice within the broader community, while developing, supporting and promoting the work of contemporary Northern Irish artists and visual arts practice. The GTG is a recognised charity, and our core funders are the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council.
Origami is the traditional Japanese art of creating mini-sculptures by folding a flat, square sheet of paper – no scissors or glue required. The crane is one of the most famous designs, and one of the oldest known books about origami from 1797, called Hiden senbazuru origata (The Secret of Folding 1,000 Paper Cranes), contains instructions for making 49 different kinds of crane.
But origami is still being taken to new levels by contemporary artists – like this incredible life-size elephant created by artist Sipho Mabona from a single sheet of paper!
In August 2008 the Golden Thread Gallery hosted a ground-breaking participatory art project called Splattered. The project showcased range of contemporary urban artforms, with events run by the Trans Urban Arts Academy and aimed to encourage innovative crossovers between street art and more established forms of contemporary visual culture.
Splattered was an ambitious project combining contemporary urban art forms such as graffiti, VJing and low-tech filmmaking, with the added attraction of a paint-bombing event that linked with an exhibition of new work by Carlos Llavata: an internationally renowned artist & explosives expert, known for using fireworks and other kinds of explosives to create artworks that reflect on the human condition and the tension that lies between creativity and destruction.
It was an unbelievable opportunity to paint bomb an art gallery and join forces with an international explosives expert / artist. Participants listened to the sound of paint splatter and the newest beats as they took turns exploding with Carlos!
Bodyscapes – an exhibition of new work by Carlos Llavata (Spain) connecting audio-visual projections with live actions and dramatic undertones.
Graffiti– Filth & Duncan Ross with the Splat Pack transformed the walls of the Gallery using graffiti techniques.
And now… it’s your turn!
CREATE YOUR OWN SPLATTER ART AT HOME
There’s no getting around it, splatter art can be SUPER messy… but that’s part of the fun! So, you need to do a bit of preparation, and definitely ask a grown-up for permission and some help!
The very best way to do it is outside so you can spread your paper out on the ground. If you are inside, paint in a space that you can clean up easily – avoid anywhere with wallpaper or carpets – and wear an apron or old clothes.
The great thing about splatter is that you don’t even need a paintbrush… there are so many possibilities.
It’s really all about THE FLICK! If you’re indoors, use a smaller flick of your wrist. But if you’re outside, go big and use your arms!
Runny paint in pots (or cups or yoghurt cartons or bowls)
Paper (or cardboard or an old t-shirt or an unfolded cereal box)
A paintbrush (or a spoon or an old toothbrush)
Are you ready? Ok!
Dip your brush or spoon into the paint then FLICK your wrist to splatter the paint across the paper!
Keep splattering with different colours. Try splattering close to the paper, and then further away, for different effects.
Leave your picture lying flat until the paint is dry… unless you want to experiment and see what happens if you don’t!
Last week we said farewell to our wonderful Erasmus trainee Chiara Matteucci, as she was finally able to return home to Bologna, Italy after being stranded in Belfast during lockdown. We already miss her so much!
The Covid-19 pandemic restrictions kicked in soon after Chiara’s placement at the GTG began. In the strangest of circumstances she quickly became an invaluable part of the team, taking a pivotal role in delivering our online programme. In addition to carrying out a huge and overdue reorganisation of our exhibition archive, Chiara is our Instagram guru!
We asked her to write about her time with us, and as always it’s great!
By Chiara Matteucci
‘When I packed my clothes and I was ready to depart for my Erasmus + traineeship I wasn’t expecting that it would turn out in this way. Well, no one expected that the whole year 2020 would turn out this way, but, let me say, if you decide to go through a worldwide pandemic in a foreign country, far away from home (precisely 1416 miles), things are slightly amplified. I don’t blame anyone, there were a couple of opportunities to fly back home but I considered it safer to stay here in Belfast and keep going with my Erasmus traineeship at the Golden Thread Gallery.
So here we are, at the end of this unique experience, which has unfolded as the most useful experience I’ve ever had – and all the thanks go to the team in the Gallery who supported (and endured) me in these pandemic months. I can’t hide that I would have wanted to have a chance to explore Belfast better (I’m still wondering how drinking a pint of beer in a pub after work would be) instead of knowing only the route to the gallery and back home, which by the way I can do with my eyes closed now. And, of course, I missed all the beauty of seeing how to install and de-install an exhibition, talking with the artists during the vernissages and dealing with feedback of the public which, if you work with contemporary artworks, can often be incredibly controversial.
But if there’s something that I learned from this lockdown is to focus on the good things (the famous saying “looking at the glass as half full” has always turned out to be right) and, after four months of smart working, even though I exposed myself to an emotional rollercoaster, I can definitely say that I couldn’t have learned more work-wise. Even in a small and open listener team such as the Golden Thread Gallery, there are fixed roles. But during this period things have changed because we all have been exposed to something new, unexpected for the team and for me. Together, meeting after meeting (God bless Zoom), we have formulated a virtual response to the quarantine, trying to keep the Gallery alive against the uncertain and suspended reality created by the virus.
I clearly remember what the director Peter told me during one of our conversations about the art system – “If we were in a normal situation, probably me and you would never have met” and this is true. Someone could negatively interpret this sentence but in my case, this is where is hidden my half-full glass: the lockdown gave me the possibility to work in a unique (albeit virtual) environment, to be actively involved in the creation of content and I couldn’t be happier.
PS: Something forever is the title of a 2000 exhibition by Ian Charlesworth and Eoghan McTigue that the Golden Thread Gallery hosted in its old venue on the Crumlin Road. Have a look at the online archive, I proudly re-organised it!’
June 2020, Bologna via Belfast
We cannot wait to watch Chiara’s career in the arts develop, we know there will be so much success ahead for her. And we look forward to welcoming her back to Belfast for a visit someday soon so she can explore our brilliant city… and we can finally buy her that well-deserved pint!
Learn how to use computer coding to create art! Artist, composer and technology superstar Robin Price shows you how to design and code a beautiful rainbow, just like in our picture.
Creative coding is a type of computer programming in which the goal is to create something expressive instead of something functional. It’s an exciting and growing field where art and technology come together.
Coding can be used to create pictures, animation, poems, games and many different kinds of art.
Golden Thread Gallery is delighted to announce our unique touring exhibition, Not Alone, created for our strange, new, transformed world. With isolation measures, travel restrictions and quarantine rules affecting art exhibitions and collaborations in every way, GTG Director Peter Richards...