The Golden Thread Gallery is delighted to present Verges a solo exhibition by Clare Gallagher. The photographs in Verges examine the potential for everyday resistance through the growth and habits of weeds. Attending more closely to our ordinary surroundings and appreciating the familiar undermines the capitalist desire for commodity and spectacle, for the exotic and dramatic.
It is easy to feel so tightly constrained by grown-up concerns that we don’t have time to notice what we encounter every day. It becomes hard to see the opportunities for pleasure or plenitude lurking within them. Rocks and trees stop being forts, scraps of paper become just mess, and dandelions, goose grass and buttercups evolve from playthings into hostile invaders of our land.
These photographs aim to reclaim some of the freedom and creativity that weeds exhibit. They defy preoccupations with property and boundaries, growing wherever suits them, however untidy or inconvenient it is for us. Making use of tiny scraps of dirt to grow roots, weeds use ingenious ways to find spaces in hostile environments to thrive, teasing our desire for order and control. They suggest a view of nature as autonomous, rather than one in which it exists only to serve us.
Observing and recording weeds offers a playful, life-affirming perspective that resists judgemental thinking about our everyday environment and invites us to experience it anew.
Clare Gallagher was born in Northern Ireland and studied photography in London, Canterbury and Belfast, earning an MFA Photography with distinction. A photography lecturer since 2003, she is also working on a practice-based PhD on the domestic everyday in photography. Clare is course director for BA (Hons) Photography with Video at the Belfast School of Art, Ulster University.
Her work examines the ordinary and everyday, focusing on experiences of home. It has been exhibited in Europe, North America and Asia and been featured in The Guardian, Lenscratch and Source Photographic Review. She was selected for Saatchi’s New Sensations 2011, Platform 2012 at Fotomuseum Winterthur in Switzerland, Magenta’s Flash Forward Emerging Photographers 2012 and SCAN Tarragona’s Talent Latent 2012 and was named in Magenta’s Top 100 in 2014.
In 2013, Clare presented a solo exhibition of Domestic Drift at Galería H2O in Barcelona and was artist-in-residence for Backlight Photo Festival in Finland. In 2014 her work was shown at Circulation(s) festival in Paris and in Belfast Exposed’s Photobook exhibition in Northern Ireland. Clare also curated an exhibition of new Northern Irish photography for Backlight Photo Festival, Finland.
In 2015 she presented her research at Remote Photo Festival and Belfast Exposed’s Feminist Lens event and exhibited in Aleppo, Syria and Dali, China. She was a speaker at the International Conference of Photography and Theory 2016 in Cyprus, talking about her fieldwork in the domestic everyday, and a keynote speaker at Visualising the Home in Carlisle, UK in 2017. Her work showed in Landskrona Photo Festival, Sweden, and Ningbo International Photography Week in China in 2017.
Clare has written for the British Journal of Photography and contributed a chapter for a major book due out in 2018. Her series Verges will be published through TLP Editions/PhotoIreland Foundation and exhibited at the Golden Thread Gallery in May 2018.