- Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre
Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre which is located inside the Hong Kong Park. This building used to be called the Cassels Block, and was built in the early 20th century to be used as a barrack within the old Victoria Barracks.
8th to 25th January 2010
These are interesting times for printmaking not only here in Northern Ireland but also with printed works seen further afield internationally at recent print conferences such as, ‘Impact’, ‘Philagrafika’, and Southern Graphics. The medium is expanding its definitions of presentation, whilst also retaining its core values. Dialogues occurring locally and internationally between print-artists are resulting in a broadening of narrative themes beyond the decorative; a defiant spirit is emerging to have our medium taken seriously alongside other forms of contemporary expression. The dissemination of the techniques involved in Printmaking, is educating our viewing audience. They are now armed with an appreciation of the constitutes and uniqueness of printmaking and its differences in its visual presentation. A wider viewing audience is now able to appreciate printmaking, and experience print exhibitions on offer as the ‘equal’ to contemporary painting, sculpture and installation. This is relatively new and a long time fought for development.
This group of five Irish based artists is brought together for the first time in the exhibition ‘Watershed’. The group is comprised of the foremost contemporary print artists working in Belfast, Northern Ireland, over the last ten years. It is representative of the well established to the newly emerging.
The established have made both considerable contributions to the print environment artistically through numerous exhibitions, and also through teaching, lectures, seminars, publications, and encouraged the dissemination and promotion of printmaking in Northern Ireland.
The emerging are challenging the notions of what exactly constitutes a print, utilizing contemporary media forms, such as advertising, the Internet, and digital technology, or alternative materials such as sunlight to form a printed image or environment. They bring fresh ideas to the medium, taking the print out of the framed display and onto walls and free standing 3d art pieces, what could be termed broadly as an ‘installationist’ presentation. Work also sometimes involves audience ‘participation’.
The traditional and new are co existing side-by-side, exchanging ideas, there is room and respect from both. They combine to support each other and subsequently help to create a vibrant creative print environment in Belfast city.
Fiona Joyce has been a member of BPW since 1997. She is also a former member of the artist collective Queen Street Studios (QSS) where she was highly involved in its development from 1997-2007-serving as Chair from 2001-2003. In 2003 she co- founded DAS- Digital Arts Studios and served on its development committee until 2007. Her work is represented at the Graphic Studio Gallery Dublin'.
‘Watershed’ has many interpretive connotations amongst which is a ‘division between westward-flowing and eastward-flowing streams; metaphorically, or of consciousness’.
With the above in mind artists were given the theme ‘Watershed’ to investigate for themselves. In addition they were also given some basic starting points to aid visual conception. Artists were asked to also bare in mind the geographical / historical position of the two port cities of Belfast & Hong Kong. One idea put to them was land location, as it is seen as pivotal to the development of each city and in-turn provided sustenance to each cities rising populace. Artists in Belfast were asked to provide visuals that engage with their own sense of location. They were encouraged to look at numerous aspects including; spatial governance and topography, the multiple facets of the urban environment, including, industry, technology, community, citizenship, history, and how these elements both physically and psychologically effect our day to day experience and our sub conscious existence. How we both respond to, and how we interact with our city?
The ‘Watershed’ artists are brought together not only to be representative of Belfast’s print artists, but primarily for their consistent investigation into both contemporary societies issues and inventive solutions of articulation. Their works contain narrative fractions that are revelatory in their visual expression, and can only be derived from the specifics of inhabiting this particular urban environment. This city has its own specific history, which marks it out as different to anywhere else in Europe. The last thirty years of conflict have left an indelible mark both on the physicality of the space and on the psychology of its citizens. It impinges on your thoughts for living, seeps into your artistic out put, sometimes quietly, sometimes dramatically. However it is important to state that we are not wedded in the past, we acknowledge it and move on, but because of recent history we retain a consciousness of how social politic governs our existence and becomes embedded in the fabric of our daily life.
At the same time Belfast as a city is trying to be as progressive as possible, society is stabilizing, the city is attempting to re-invent itself and currently moving with some pace toward new notions and experiences of living. It has a need to create patterns of living that can be seen as normality, and therefore equable with our European neighbours.
Perhaps the over riding narrative question posed by the Belfast Artists featured in this exhibition should be?