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!
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.
The Golden Thread Gallery’s unique touring exhibition ‘Not Alone’ arrived in Bologna on 30th August. Curator Chiara Matteucci unpacked and installed the artworks in her home, and has been sharing her iteration of the exhibition online for the past week on social media. She’s also shared her own perspective on the project, and where she believes it fits in the field of exhibition-making. Chiara writes:
“The title ‘Not Alone” comes from a Police song, Message in a Bottle. During the quarantine, how many of us experienced a sense of alienation without being lost on a remote island? That nostalgia for social life, human contact, and the possibility of seeing live artworks, is the emotion that moves the project at its beginning; in parallel with the necessity to create something different, able to re-enact old mechanisms and to get people used to the wait, to their right of taking their time to do everything, even experience an exhibition.”
“Almost all of the artists involved decided to create something concrete, more traditional (if we can still use this term), albeit all of them were free to create whatever they want, except for one condition: the artwork had to be able to travel in a bottle. The fact that the artists decided to use traditional media, from sculptures to paintings, to printed photographs, make me think… Is this a coincidence? Or is it a stance, a necessity to take a step back from the digital world? If it’s the latter, is it correct to take that distance?”
“The migration of the Art World online has separated intellectuals in two currents: those who are pro digital and those against, who consider the Internet as a short-term solution. But during this unusual period, we’ve all been grateful to the web and its potentialities. All the art members, from institutions to artists and curators, have tried to exploit as much as they can the digital world to keep themself (and us) alive. Instagram takeovers, podcasts, virtual tours, but also online performances were all been ways to share and make art everywhere. This possibility of being connected with people who comes from the other part of the world, that they might never afford to come overseas to see an exhibition, it is definitely something that we can’t neglect, and it is, in my opinion, the best quality of the Web.”
“This democratic aspect of the world wide web, connecting all the public realm with the cultural system – it belongs to the home, too.”
“Before considering it as a cage, the house has been our refuge and sometimes an art space. To demonstrate this, the Art History is full of subversive examples of exhibitions which took place outside the museums and the famous white cube. Digging more, there is a long thread of art exhibitions in houses that starts from 1986 with the famous Chambres d’Amis at Gand, it passed through The Kitchen curated by Olbrist and arrives at nowadays.”
“If the art system has tried to make Art eternal, neutral, and exclusive, the house gave it back to where it belongs: to the real world. In the house indeed the artworks start to live again, the fruition of them changes and merges with the emotional sphere of the house itself, full of the memories of its owner. Inside the house there are no more hierarchies, it is accessible to everyone; the cultural elite is replaced with the mass. Exactly as the digital realm has done from its beginning, and more and more with the arrival of social media, using its devices to make Art available in a click.”
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!
This week we’re delighted to work with artist Ian Cumberland, as he shares a new film that looks back at his 2018 exhibition at the GTG, a common fiction. (Please note: the film has sound, but no voiceover).
Ian’s work in this exhibition explored new methods of painting for him; moving towards wider, more immersive installation experiences. Detailed portraiture was staged within the space and extended with fabric, neon and video work. This ‘staging’ framed the paintings in a context that is found within the imagery of the paint itself, bringing the viewer a different perspective of looking at his work. The paintings were expanded, the landscape of each work brought out and into the gallery.
About the artist
Born in Banbridge in Co Down, Ian Cumberland studied at The University of Ulster, where he was awarded the John and Rachael Turner Award for the most outstanding student in 2006. He has established a national and international reputation for his highly realistic portraits.
Ian is perhaps best known for his hyper realistic large oil paintings, including his award winning ‘Heads’ series. The surfaces of Cumberland’s paintings record the innate detail of flesh, pattern and texture in highly detailed precision.
2019 ‘A Common Fiction/Once removed’, Josef Filipp Gallery, Leipzig, Germany 2018 ‘A Common Fiction’, Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, Northern Ireland 2016 ‘Once Removed’, MCAC, Portadown, Northern Ireland 2012 Albemarle Gallery, London, UK 2008 Albemarle Gallery, London, UK
Selected Group Exhibitions
2019 JD Malat Gallery, London, UK ‘I’ll be your mirror’, Josef Filipp Gallery, Leipzig, Germany Royal Ulster Academy, Ulster Museum, Belfast, UK ‘SAGA’, Paintguide, Hong Kong 2018 ‘A Brand New Darkness’, Abridged, Galway Arts Centre, Ireland 2017 ‘Winter Open’, RUA Red, Dublin, Ireland ‘Delusional’, Jonathan Levine Projects, New Jersey, USA Royal Ulster Academy, Ulster Museum, Belfast, Northern Ireland 2016 ‘Portraits of a Nation’, Farmleigh Gallery, Dublin, Ireland 2015 ‘BP Portrait Award’ (Touring Exhibition), The National Portrait Gallery, London, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, Ulster Museum, Belfast, UK 2014 ‘Presently’, MCAC, Portadown, Northern Ireland ‘184th Annual Exhibition’, The Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, Ireland
Today’s online workshop by artist and photographer Simon Mills shows you how to make your own brilliant salt dough modelling clay using basic household ingredients… And it features a very special and adorable guest artist! With a little bit of help, this is an activity for all ages to enjoy!
You can use salt dough to make ornaments, jewellery, picture-frames, the initials of your name, model cars or animals – the possibilities are endless. Once it’s baked, it can last for years if you look after it carefully.
Here’s the worksheet with instructions that you can download and print.
We are very excited to bring you this unique film by acclaimed performance artist Sinéad O’Donnell, in which she looks back at three iconic performance pieces from across her career, exploring themes of isolation: ‘Prerequisite‘ (1999), ‘Headspace: White Cube‘ (2014) which was first performed in Northern Ireland in the GTG in 2015, and ‘Red Clay Twins‘ (2018).
About the Artist
Sinéad O’Donnell has worked in performance, installation, site and time-based art for the past 20 years. Originally from Dublin and based in Belfast, Sinéad studied sculpture at the University of Ulster, textiles in Dublin and visual performance and time-based practices at Dartington College of Arts, graduating with distinction in 2003. Her work has been presented at Art of the Lived Experiment, Bluecoat, Liverpool, UK, Voices Travel, Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan (2014), Asiatopia, Bangkok Arts & Cultural Centre, Thailand (2013), Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, Croatia, (2013), Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, Northern Ireland, (2012), Southbank Centre, London (2012).
Sinéad was the first performance artist to be awarded a Major Individual Artist award by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in 2017/18.
Her work explores identity, borders and barriers through encounters with territory and the territorial. She sets up actions or situations that demonstrate complexities, contradictions or commonality between medium and discipline, timing and spontaneity, intuition and methodology, artist and audience. She uses photography, video, text and collage to record her performances which often reveals an ongoing interest in the co-existence of other women and systems of kinship and identity.
In response to the current situation the Golden Thread Gallery is engaging with artists and audiences in a different way. Thanks to funding from the Community Foundation NI, over the next few months we’ll be inviting Northern Ireland based artists to create a new digital exhibition of some of their past work with the GTG online, on our website and social media channels.
We’re delighted that our first artist is Victoria J. Dean, a photographic artist based in Belfast. Works from her series ‘The Illusion of Purpose’ were shown in our Project Space in 2018 as part of our ‘There and not there’ exhibition, alongside works by Sharon Murphy.
For GTG Artists Present Victoria has created a new digital presentation of the works shown in the gallery, with additional works from the series and a fascinating personal reflection on the project. Watch it here, or for a subtitled version please watch on our YouTube channel.
Her photographs are notable for their lack of people, yet they are not simple landscapes or seascapes, the structures are key. It is hard to tell exactly what the structures are; indeed, some of them appear so unlikely given their locale that they appear more like an illusion than fact. Their unlikeliness presents more questions than answers. Are the structures superimposed into the photograph? What is their purpose? Where are they? Dean deliberately does not give us the answers to any of those questions. Her fascination with how humans interpret what they see, how they organise, what they build and how it all contributes to society remains unanswered.
About the Artist
Victoria J. Dean (b. Belfast, 1980) is a
photographic artist based in Northern Ireland. She has exhibited and been
published internationally including in 2018: Off_festival Bratislava: ‘The
Anthropocene’, Slovakia; ‘LensCulture Emerging Talent Awards’, Klompching
Gallery, New York; ‘There and not there’, the Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast;
‘188th RHA Annual Exhibition’, Dublin; ‘137th RUA Annual Exhibition’, Ulster
Museum, Belfast, and previously: ‘On the Border between Time and Loss’, Galway
Arts Centre, 2016; ‘Emerging’ (Slideshow Night), Annenberg Space for
Photography, Los Angeles, and ‘Royal Academy Summer Exhibition’, London, 2015;
‘Circulation(s) 2014: Festival de la Jeune Photographie Européenne’, Paris,
2014; ‘Northern Ireland: 30 Years of Photography’, Belfast Exposed & The MAC,
Belfast, 2013, and Magenta Foundation’s ‘Flash Forward’, Boston, London and
Toronto, 2013-14; and ‘PDN’s 30 Emerging Photographers’, New York, 2007.
Represented by the Golden Thread Gallery (Belfast), Dean featured in ‘SCOPE’
New York and ‘Elective Perspective’, Galeria Arsenał in Białystok, Poland in
Dean received the Royal Ulster Academy Award
for Outstanding Students on obtaining an MFA Photography with distinction from
Belfast School of Art at Ulster University, and was selected by Olivia Arthur
(Magnum) and Anna Sparham (Curator, Museum of London) in Source Magazine’s
‘Graduate Photography Online 2017 Selections’. A winner in the ‘LensCulture
Emerging Talent Awards 2017’, Dean was also a finalist in the Klompching
Gallery’s ‘FRESH 2017’. ‘The Illusion of Purpose’ book was published by Another
Place Press in 2018.
Dean’s work is part of the David Kronn Collection, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland Collection, the Office of Public Works State Art Collection (Ireland), and a number of private collections in the UK and Ireland.
Next, an activity sheet based on our exhibition ‘The Telepaths’ from last year, by renowned Northern Irish artist Susan MacWilliam. In the exhibition Susan used archive photographs of women in the early part of the 20th Century as part of her exploration of ideas and imagery related to historical investigations of telepathy and extra-sensory perception.
Finally an art activity that you need to do to music! Cheesy, cheerful pop is our favourite! This activity sheet was created for Oona Doherty‘s solo exhibition, ‘Death of a Hunter‘, which was the first exhibition to combine dance and narrative story-telling into a visual arts exhibition which blurred the distinctions between art forms.
Our scheduled Dissolving Histories: An Unreliable Presence panel discussion couldn’t take place in the gallery due to the current situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. Luckily due to the wonders of technology, we were able to record the talk and bring it to you now, while still practicing all the social distancing protocols!
We were joined by co-curators Mary Cremin and Peter Richards and artists Liliane Puthod, Stuart Calvin and Michael Hanna to discuss the process of building the Dissolving Histories exhibition. It’s fascinating to hear the artists discuss the changing context of this exhibition, given our current global situation. The discussion provides a wonderful insight into the way this exhibition came about and also the thoughts behind the origins of the Dissolving Histories series (of which this is the third annual instalment).
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...