Dorothy Cross . Heather Fleming . Damien Flood . Ruth le Gear . David Hamilton . Mark Joyce . Cainneach Lennon . Belinda Loftus . Claire Muckian . Kathryn Nelson . Joanne Proctor . Anne Marie Savage . Jana Winderen . Shelby Woods
To coincide with the exploration of sub-glacial Lake Ellsworth in Antarctica this winter Millennium Court Arts Centre presents Crystalline, an exhibition of work by both internationally known artists and local practising artists, graduates & postgraduates living or working throughout Northern Ireland. The exhibition incorporates pieces submitted through Open Submission and by invitation. The work explores the twin themes of scientific endeavour and the landscape of Antarctica. Working in various disciplines the artists represented in Crystalline cover many facets of Antarctic exploration, teasing out aspects of the barren terrain of the surface (seemingly devoid of colour, sound and life) and the inverted landscape of the sub-glacial underworld.
Focusing on the mechanics and practicalities of scientific endeavour are sculptor Heather Fleming, Kathryn and Roy Nelson whose work seeks to express geological time, and Belinda Loftus and Joanne Proctor who address the extreme conditions for life in the Antarctic. Through sculptural assemblage Shelby Woods reflects on the inhospitable landscape as the ideal location to gain objectivity on the human condition, on loneliness and mortality. Cainneach Lennon's work Suspended landscape speaks of a place frozen in time and space but also perhaps the formidable task before the cartographer scientist in terra incognita.
Works by Dorothy Cross and Jana Winderen represent art made on location in extreme conditions. Cross's Antarctica (2005) is a monochromatic film rendered in negative showing a group of deep sea divers in the icy, crystal waters of Antarctica. Using advanced sound recording technology Jana Winderen's work similarly dives down and melds with scientific research by recording sound in crevasses of glaciers, in fjords and in the open ocean of the frozen north. Weaving together these hidden sounds she reveals the rich complexities and strangeness of the world beneath. Claire Muckian's micro-scale sculptural work is also derived from sound, in particular the visualisations of sub-glacial lakes using sonar imaging. This work posits the sub-glacial lake as a metaphor for creativity.
The landscape is also used as a means to explore self, creativity and the position between fact, fiction and mythmaking. Damien Flood's fantastical landscape paintings reveal his curiosity about the heroic ages of exploration and the search for the undiscovered, foreign or otherworldly landscape. Ruth le Gear who has recently completed a residency in the Arctic Circle (another extreme environment) is strongly attracted by the scientific method behind investigation of non-physical phenomena and conversely the requirement of investigating fictional scenarios to understand more about the self.
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