The Living Present
This Exhibition shows a new body of work by Belfast based artist Petra Dominova. A series of paintings, that depict a world that is guided by ritual, interconnectedness and the transcendental. A network which encompasses an internal universe merged with the material plane, as they are expressed in unity. Creating a sentient landscape, that has its own intuitive cosmology and grasps at our connection to Nature and the psyche, in which we are thoroughly immersed. The body of work is driven by a process, which fosters and gives room to a subjective experience, which is unique, personal and intimate.
Petra Dominova is a Czech born, Belfast based contemporary artist.
Through the use of myth and personal, intuitive iconography, her 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 ideas about consciousness and eco-psychology and expanding our field of vision into the future. Building worlds, that are weaved together through organic forms and futuristic figures, submerged in a collective sensuous reality.
Her practice is an attempt at introspective inquisition, with ideas manifesting in the form of painting, sound art, moving image and installation.
She has completed her MFA in Fine Art at the Ulster University in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 2019.
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.”
Helen Gomez is a Belfast-based LGBT+ cartoonist, zine-maker and multidisciplinary artist. Commissioned by Outburst, this series of large scale cartoon works responds not only to the themes of this year’s festival, but also to Helen’s recent experiences of adapting their art practice after becoming disabled with long Covid, having contracted Covid in March 2020.
Influenced by queer and indie autobiographical comics, punk zines and animation, and focusing on post-capitalism, trans rights, crip theory, housing and welfare rights and projects to support the local artist economy, Helen is one of the most vital queer cartoonist emerging from the burgeoning scene in Belfast.
They are supported in this project by production assistant Sam Mulrine.
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.
Hattie Godfrey is a Belfast based performance artist, writer and researcher whose work
primarily considers her own and societies increasingly complicated relationship with
concepts of ‘care’. Methodologically, Hattie uses performance, interactive installation,
writing and film in the restaging and ‘unpacking’ of personal &/collective episodes of
psychological and physical suffering until they are either fully understood or fully exhausted.
What emerges is a surreal yet detailed catalogue of human experience and emotion.
Hattie’s key focus is the development of alternative languages for describing episodes of
suffering; believing that by actively engaging in dialogue surrounding our own experiences
of suffering, we can begin to understand, reclaim and make aesthetically significant, what
was previously painful.
Hattie graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London in BA (hons) Fine Art in 2018,
receiving first class honours and Queens University Belfast in Msc Psychological Science in
2020, receiving distinction. She was recently selected as the Bbeyond New Commission
Artist, is a studio holder at Flax Art Studios and is the creative director and co-founder of
Figure This Life Drawing, a Belfast based life drawing company promoting body positivity,
inclusiveness and explorative drawing for all experience levels.
Aimée Nelson is an artist based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Her work examines the phenomena of light, consciousness and the fragility of perception explored through photography, video, installation and sculpture. Aimée is interested in the scientific and philosophical properties of light and is currently exploring the process Cyanotype, a traditional photographic technique which uses objects and sunlight in order to make the image. Her work playfully experiments with ideas of duality, exploring parallels between light and shadow, interior and exterior, visibility and invisibility, reality and illusion, aiming to manipulate the viewer’s experience of light, to play with perception and one’s feelings of self.
Aimée’s Black Box online exhibition will showcase a body of work that combines her photographic and mixed-media practices with the activity of walking, exploring the idea of the Dérive as a tool for making artwork. The Dérive ’is an unplanned journey through a landscape where the participant drops their everyday tasks and activities. They let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and what they find there. They experience the city open to new perspectives.’
Aimée graduated from Belfast School of Art with a First Class Honours Degree in Fine Art. Since graduating she has been awarded exhibitions in FCB Studios, ArtisAnn Gallery, Queens Street Studios and the Royal Ulster Academy 2019 Annual Exhibition to which she went on to win The Mullan Gallery Award for Best Sculpture. Her work is in public collections including the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.