GTG Artists Present: On Visibility by John Rainey


Sculptor John Rainey looks back at his 2016 solo show ‘On Visibility’, with this new online presentation exploring the exhibition; a series of sculptures in porcelain, silicone and mixed media. 

On Visibility considers the persistence of images, mediated disclosure and slippages between form and formlessness in the creation of digital representation.”



About the Artist: 

John Rainey is a sculptor based in Northern Ireland, working mainly with 3D print technologies and ceramics. He completed his master’s degree at the Royal College of Art, London, in 2012. John is an associated artist of Marsden Woo Gallery, London, where his first solo exhibition was held in 2013. In the same year, he completed a four-month residency at Konstfack University for the Creative Arts as the Anglo-Swedish Society’s Visual Arts Scholar and was selected to produce a large-scale installation for “COLLECT 2013 Project Space” at the Saatchi Gallery, London. Recent exhibitions include ‘Flayground’ at the BERG Gallery, Stockholm and ‘Crowded Thresholds’ at the National Design and Craft Gallery, Kilkenny.

On Visibility is the result of Rainey’s ACES award, which he received from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in 2014.

GTG Artists Present is funded by the Community Foundation NI.


GTG Artists Present: The Illusion of Purpose by Victoria J. Dean


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.

(c) 2020 Victoria J. Dean

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 2010.

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.


Dissolving Histories: An Unreliable Presence – Artists Panel Discussion Online!


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).  

Watch the discussion on the Golden Thread Gallery Vimeo channel here! (Video: 31 minutes)  

Hopefully you all caught artist Liliane Puthod’s Golden Thread Gallery Instagram Takeover over the last weekend.

Michael Hanna has kindly shared more of his extraordinary video work to view online here (Short Films about Learning, 2015).  

And although you can’t currently see this exhibition in the physical gallery space, you can explore the beautiful documentation of the show by Simon Mills on our website.  

GTG Revisits ‘Noise of Silence: Japanese Art Now’


While we’re closed, we wanted to take a look back at some of the highlights of our exhibitions over the past year, and share the activity sheets for you to download and print at home. Please peruse some incredible art, then send us pictures of your own creations!


Last August the Golden Thread Gallery brought an incredible exhibition of contemporary Japanese art to Belfast. ‘Noise of Silence: Japanese Art Now’ was co-curated by GTG Director Peter Richards, the Director of Art Center Ongoing in Tokyo Nozomu Ogawa and Belfast based Japanese artist, Shiro Masuyama. The exhibition included work by 11 different artists, with a broad spectrum of styles and approaches to contemporary art making.

Noise of Silence: Japanese Art Now included spectacular live art events. Artist Takahiro Suzuki continued his global “生きろ (IKIRO) ” (meaning “Be Alive”) project in a durational performance in our Castlecourt pop-up space.

Takahiro Suzuki in Castlecourt Shopping Centre, Belfast, August 2019

You can watch a video of IKIRO on our Facebook page here or this one taken by the Power family on a visit to Castlecourt here!

IKIRO by Takahiro Suzuki in Belfast, August 2019

In Golden Thread Gallery One artist Yusuke Asai created a 17 metre long mud mural on-site, painting right on the gallery walls. He used soil and clay that he gathered here in Northern Ireland to paint his fantastical creatures and images of nature.



Shiro Masuyama’s installation work ‘Tokyo Landscape 2020‘ included an intricate motorised light ascending and descending over water to illuminate rows of plaster figures. Take a look at this video of the installation by Shiro.

Tokyo Landscape 2020 2018, Shiro Masuyama
Tokyo Landscape 2020 2018, Shiro Masuyama

Kyunchome’s video documentary ‘Making the Perfect Donut‘ begins with the idea of combining an American type donut with a sata andagi, an Okinawan donut, to create the ultimate deep-fried treat. But the piece explores the complicated history of American and Japanese relations, and the protests at the continuing presence of American military bases in Japan.

Still from Making the Perfect Donut 2017-2018, Kyunchome
Still from Making the Perfect Donut 2017-2018, Kyunchome

The exhibition also included video works by Takuro Kotaka, Hikaru Suzuki, Marico Aoki and Atsushi Yamamoto.

Atsushi’s piece was actually filmed in Belfast in 2014, during his residency with Flax Studios. In his video he walks around the city with his friends, dressed in a Japanese giant costume, responding to the mythology of Irish giant Finn McCool.

Atsushi Yamamoto and friends, 2014, Belfast
Spirit Disco 2017, Marico Aoki
The Village’s Bid for UFO 2017, Takuro Kotaka

Artist Fuyuka Shindo has also spent time in Belfast, having studied at Belfast School of Art and been artist-in-residence in Flax Studios. Conducting research in museums and archives, she looks at objects such as traditional costumes and old photographs.

Her finished pieces incorporate elements from both past and present, through imagery, materials used or techniques employed.

Artworks by Fuyuka Shindo in the GTG, August 2019. Photograph by Sophie Daly.
Who is this? 2015, Fuyuka Shindo

Midori Mitamura has also worked in Belfast at Flax, and is now based in Tokyo. She makes interactive installations using ready-mades and projected images.

Her installation ‘Green on the Mountain’ was inspired by a family photograph that she found in Europe.

Green on the Mountain 2003-2019, Midori Mitamura. Photograph by Sophie Daly.

With Noise of Silence: Japanese Art Now, we offered our visitors in Belfast the opportunity to experience aspects of Japanese life through the eyes of some of its most talented contemporary artists. Their work explored Japan’s distinct cultural issues in addition to drawing out the artistic parallels that unite creative practices across international boundaries, allowing the exhibition and visitors to reflect on the similarities that exist within our own cultures.

Read a review of the exhibition by art writer Slavka Sverakova here.

Please download and print our activity sheets to create your own artworks inspired by the exhibition, and send us pictures!