Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Belfast Photo Festival 2011 - Part 1

Opening of Document at the Queen Street Studio Gallery at the Belfast Photo Festival

I had a wonderful time last weekend at the opening weekend of the Belfast Photography Festival. I found the whole event welcoming, interesting and inspiring. I met lots of great people, saw beautiful work and had lots of fun. It was a long, full weekend so I've decided to tell the story in two parts.

It began for me with the opening of my exhibition Document and my artist's talk at the Queen Street Studio Gallery on Thursday 4th. It was the opening night of the festival and a number of exhibitions opened across the city. I want to thank everyone who came despite the torrential rain, I really appreciated the welcoming audience. Brendan O'Neill, the co-ordinator of Queen Street Studios Gallery introduced my artist talk and after I spoke I answered some very interesting questions.

Document at the Queen Street Studios, Belfast Photo Festival

One question addressed the idea of the work as an object in the space - as my work is not presented as a traditional photograph with a window mount in a frame - and asked how this aligns itself more to the presentation of a painting or sculptural work. The answer is that I do see the space as an integral element in the reading of my work, and I was very happy with the gallery space for that reason. The Queen Street Gallery reminded me a bit of the Chelsea galleries in New York. You enter an unobtrusive door and climb the stairs which opens into a bright white wooden floored space. My work sits happily there. The metal prints sit opposite a wall of windows so the light emphasised the idea of the tones in the print being affected by where you position yourself as the viewer.

Animal (25), 2007 by Elliot Ross

Also opening the same night was Elliot Ross's exhibition Animal which happened to be in the same building. So I nipped downstairs to introduce myself and really enjoyed his work, his humour, and the chocolate biscuits on offer! His work is a look at what the animal looking out at you from the page might have been feeling and how we as animals project our human emotions into the encounter with this other animal. He also launched his book of the same name at the festival.

Attention Seekers by Miriam O'Connor

Miriam O'Connor in conversation with Matt Packer

Later that evening was a very busy launch party. I was thrilled to meet Paul Seawright, Donovan Wylie and a number of other lecturers from the that MFA at University of Ulster at my show and we all seemed to be doing the rounds of openings, artist talks and book launches throughout the weekend. Another of the openings I got to was Miriam O'Connor’s exhibition Attention Seekers at The Third Space Gallery. I really enjoyed seeing the work, which is a look at inbetween spaces and inbetween moments, beautiful playful responses to everyday scenes. On Friday I attended an event where the Miriam was ‘in conversation’ with Matt Packer, curator of the Glucksman Art Gallery.

...To Be Continued

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