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31•January•2022

Online Takeover-Clare Lyons

By The Black Box

During our closure, we had moved our exhibitions online and will feature each monthly artist on our website and social media including an Instagram takeover on our account (@theblackboxbelfast) We are continuing this as well as showcase work again within the venue
Exhibition details here- https://www.blackboxbelfast.com/event/online-exhibition-clare-lyons

 

My name is Clare Lyons and I am a visual artist and photographer, born in Tallaght in Dublin, but now based in Belfast. I have recently completed an MFA in Photography at the Belfast School of Art where I began working on my current project ‘Every Saturday’.
My work is always deeply private and personal, exploring themes of memory, trauma, and my own experiences of living with mental illness. In many ways my practice can be described as autobiographical – I allow the viewer in on some of the most private and sensitive details of my life, often in the hope of a cathartic outcome.
Traditional photographic outputs don’t feel like ‘enough’ for me when it comes to these sensitive topics, and I have been left feeling quite frustrated with the medium of photography in the last few years. This frustration has led to developing a practice which focuses less on traditional, ‘straight’ picture making, and more on an expanded approach — including the incorporation of sculptural methods and experimental printmaking into my photographic work.
With projects like ‘Back Into Your Mind’, this culminated in a series of folded photographic prints, displayed like objects, to think about repressed and suppressed memories, and with ‘Every Saturday’, the inclusion of ephemeral materials from the landscape, and my own archival material, helped me to explore topics of genealogy, trauma, and family.
Even though photography as a medium can feel incredibly frustrating to me at times, I will never abandon it as my main focus or output. Using photographs as a starting point is so important to my work. Photography, identity, and memory are so intrinsically linked and universally understood as being connected, that there really is no better way for me to think about the things I want to make work about than through images – whether they were images created by my own eye or not.
It has become particularly important for me to feel as though I am working with images in a very hands on way.
The application of my own physical touch, as well as attempting to exclude as many other external influences as possible (e.g. printers and framers), also helps with the catharsis achieved through my work, as well as reinforcing the personal nature of my pieces.
While my work comes from a selfish place and centres myself so strongly, I do also hope that other people can find a way into what I do, see themselves in the work, relate to my experiences, and maybe even feel encouraged to have more open and healthy conversations around the themes and topics which arise in my practice.
My motivation has always been “I own everything that happens to me” and I think that is pretty well reflected in my practice. We should never shy away from telling our stories, no matter how difficult it is, or how much we feel like we shouldn’t. Your stories deserve to be told, and the world deserves to hear them.

You can keep up with me and my stories @clareflyons on Instagram and clarelyons.net

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