Emma Brennan (She/Her) is an interdisciplinary artist who works predominantly in performative practices to include multi-media installation, moving image and collaborative processes. Originally from Dublin, she is now based In Belfast. She is a former Co-Director and Chairperson of Catalyst Arts and a current studio member of Flax Art Studios Belfast. She has recently been chosen as one of the BBeyond performance collective’s new commissioned artists of 2021 to present a new work to be shown as part of the Cathedral Arts Festival, Belfast. She has performed as one of the invited artists at the Belfast International Festival of Performance Art, March 2021. Alongside these performances she is working towards exhibiting work in the Glór gallery, Ennis, Co. Clare in an upcoming show curated by Moran Been-Noon.
At the core of my practice is the persistent draw of the material of dough. With the unyielding bond between it and I, my relationship with this material is not just physical, it is also emotional, spiritual and political. The incorporation of dough into my work holds both ancestral and sentimental value. In capturing the processes of this material, in all of it’s alchemic, formal and sensory properties, I explore the complexities of the creation of a living, breathing thing.
My work is currently occupied with the cyclical processes of breathing/living and is formed upon the four pillars of; gestation, birth, life and death. My practice is concerned with finding balance within the contradictions of the transient and the fixed. Through process-based methods I explore the space between the two, where magic and ritual, landscape and the body all fold in on one another. My current research concerns feminist readings of a Pagan Ireland and the maternal body, exploring the ritualistic, mythological and traditional practices through the pillars outlined above. By comparing these practices I hope to capture the physicalities of the intangible, visualising the weight of intimacies and palpable tensions between living things.
The global pandemic has threatened all aspects of the ‘live’ within cultural practices. Within this context we must all re-evaluate how we all make and create in relation to shifting distances between the artist and viewer. I am eager to investigate alternative intimacies within this crucial relationship, striving to create work with integrity that honours its community by respecting the time and commitment of all who engage and participate.
Alexandra Arellano Espinoza, is a Chilean artist and designer based in France.
Focusing on movement as a subject of visual exploration, her main mediums are screen printing and digital animation. Through the use of textures, bright colours and abstract patterns, her work invites the viewer to go on a journey through a series of architectural compositions, where geometric lines combine and vibrate coming alive on paper revealing something new each time.
She recently had her first solo exhibition in Paris.
Chad Alexander is an artist from Belfast, Northern Ireland. His practice is
characterised by his home and within his work the personal and political are often
interwoven. His work deals with associations and dissociations between place and
identity and explores the everydayness of contested spaces and people who inhabit
those spaces.He is interested in the segregational and confining nature of specific
architecture and urban environments and explores how these infrastructures impact upon lives.
Chad Alexander is an artist from Belfast. His work has been exhibited internationally
including most recently at the Victoria Gallery and Museum, Liverpool, The Ulster
Museum, Belfast and The Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast. His work is held in the
collection of the Arts council of Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Assembly.
He gained a BA Hons in Photography in 2017 from the Belfast School of Art.
I am a visual and sound artist based in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Through the use of myth and personal narrative, the work brings attention to the subconscious layers of the psyche, where significance is given to symbolism, depicting a connection to the unity of Nature and our roots, whilst also exploring the themes of technology, cosmology and mysticism. The work is an attempt at self-explanatory inquisition, with ideas manifesting in the form of painting, moving image, sound art and installation.
Amy Higgins is an artist living in Belfast and works from a studio in QSS (Queen Street Studios) where
she is also a member of the board of directors, where includes the running of the gallery and studio
space. Higgins completed a BA (Hons) and Masters in Fine Art and has been a practicing artist
professionally since the completion of her Masters in 2018 (Ulster University). She tends to work with
oil paint as key medium which evolves from drawings or collages. The subject matter of the paintings
usually comes from the idea of “The Human Condition” (Hannah Arendt) and “The Monstrous
Feminine” (Barbara Creed). The practise is based around deep, internal thoughts, the subconscious,
the sublime, and with an idea around the viewer and the “embodiment of looking”. Higgins often
questions how one can disconcert the viewer through use of the canvases insinuated “planes” and
spaces. She often makes work with geometric shape and strong grid like lines, she believes this helps
to underline the main theories and ideas she invesitagates.
There is a methodology to the painting practice wherein several different aspects are studied to reach
a desired conclusion which are; the scale of the work, the suggested space within the work, geometry
and perspective and most importantly, the darkness of the painting (in terms of colour palette and
Principally, in order to fashion a “space” that is distorted and uncertain, the fourth aspect is what
effectively allows this to happen; geometry and perspective. This idea is somewhat parallel to the
painting techniques in the sense that there is a personal perspective challenged where the figures are
collectively looking in one direction and the literal viewer is positioned behind something, but with
this aspect, Higgins intensifies this with the perplexed use of sites, planes and layers distorted to
corrupt any fragment of location or subject knowledge that the viewer may have.
Researching around the human eye and its light-sensitive cells, the phosphene patterns of
hallucinations have crept up in the paintings and drawings. The grids-like forms that are layered on
the canvas connote utopian ideologies of modernism but when infused with these different aspects
altogether in one work brings relief to the suggested space with tension and arrest to the physical
qualities of the paint; creating aesthetic possibilities for the suggested three-dimensional space in a
chaotic geometric way. The worked-up image is an attempt at being uncertain in terms of a
fragmentation and break up of linear spatial descriptions that are convergent, divergent, cross-cutting
There is an underlying medieval, religious manner to the work which stems from the idea and context
of Fra Angelico’s monastery paintings. The thoughts currently around the installation of the paintings
is to encourage and emphasise the awareness of specific space which is invoked in the painting and in
the relationship of the physical space with the viewer.
IN JUXTAPOSITION is collaborative body of work between textile artist Sarah
Cathers and Contemporary jeweller/maker Rosie Elwood. By combining individual
practices, the project pushes the boundaries of making and thinking, through
exploring instinct and response to found objects.
Rosie Elwood, Jeweller
I am an emerging contemporary artist, concerned with found objects and story telling.
Increasingly, I am interested in exploring the boundaries between body and object.
“I’ve been working on a collaborative project with textile artist Sarah Cathers. We’ve
been using a selection of found objects to create a collection of wearable and non
wearable pieces. We embarked on this project to gain experience working with
different materials as well as experience working collaboratively. During this project
we both attended the artists talk held by Goldsmiths in which Sturt Cairns, Jo Pond
and Zoe Arnolds. Which discussed the use of found objects in jewellery making. We
are hoping to submit the collection to open calls as well as exploring any opportunity
to have the work exhibited. This project has been both great and a little unusual. It
has been different to navigate working with each other, without meeting in person.
But wonderful to have the joint purpose during lockdown.”
Sarah Cathers, Textile Artist
A collector of oddities with an urge to document and preserve the forgotten.
Driven by the process of fragmentation, I gather pieces of found objects with the
incentive to mend and rebuild the broken and repurpose the discarded.
I work with a wide range of materials and methods, responding to each individual
“I have been working alongside jeweller Rosie Elwood, to create a collaborative body
of work based on instinct and response to found objects. Rosie explores past and
present through materials in her work. Similarily to me, she works across disciples
exploring the relationship between humans and objects but is more experienced in
metals and wearables. We combined our skills and materials, challenging ourselves
to respond to objects selected by each other; A process which was new to both of
us. Through our response, we have curated a collection of 11 wearable and non-
wearable pieces. The project developed during lockdown when I needed it most. It
felt very refreshing to push the boundaries of my thinking and challenge my practice
by working with Rosie.”
James Ashe is a visual artist based in Belfast. His work uses the mediums of illustration, typography, risograph and screenprinting. Predominate themes in his work include politics, LGBT rights, architecture and built heritage. He has exhibited locally as part of groups and within collections in the Ulster Museum, and has had recent solo exhibitions with The Black Box and Framewerk Gallery.
A series of new collages and prints developed from the (de)construct exhibition at the Blackbox Belfast online in May 2020. The work takes reference from the 1970’s Brutalist architecture of the Ulster Museum in Belfast, designed by architect Francis Pym.
The bold collages look at various views of the concrete cubist structure. The multiple planes are broken down in to separate shapes, each piece is treated as an individual component before being reassembled. The sequence of collages explore positive and negative spaces in architecture.
Details of the making process can be seen on Instagram @heraldblack
Stephen is an artist and printmaker based in East London, graduating from the Belfast School of Art in 1997 having studied textiles. He worked for John Rocha in Dublin later that year, printing fabrics for men’s and womenswear collections. His work background also includes over 10 years home accessories merchandising for Habitat & The Conran Shop before establishing his creative business heraldblack in 2014.
Now printing on paper instead of textiles, he produces a range of hand printed & original monoprints as well as card and poster ranges that are stocked by retailers in the UK, EU & USA. Stephen’s work is also licensed through Bridgeman Studios and East End Prints and has been used by Habitat, Anthropologie, Columbia University Press, LittleBrown Book Group and Pringle of Scotland.
Clare Lyons (b.1993) is a visual artist and photographer working between Dublin and Belfast, currently pursuing an MFA in Photography at Belfast School of Art in Ulster University. Clare’s practice finds its concern in the tactile nature of the photographic image. Emphasising the materiality of the photograph, she often explores themes of memory, trauma and her personal struggles with mental illness. Her research includes topics such as emotional trauma and the resulting repression and suppression of memory, and more recently the significance in revisiting the family archive in establishing one’s sense of self in the face of such experiences. Visually, she typically takes the photographic image away from its original form in an attempt to tease out these difficult topics. Clare is a 2019-2020 recipient of the Universities Ireland North/South Postgraduate Scholarship, and since 2021 has been a studio artist at the Emerging Artist Hub in Flax Art Studios, Belfast.