AboutVictoria J. Dean
The Fortified Coastline
21 February 31 March 2013
The Fortified Coastline explores the built environment of the Irish coastline, surveying the architecture of recreational space that exists, often in discord with the purpose of the space and the unrestrained natural environment.
The natural coast forms a linear interface between nature and the encroachment of human development on the landscape, along which systems are implemented by humans to protect their interests. By establishing permanent boundaries, a series of fortifications, these recreational coastal spaces reflect systems and structures adopted by societies and authorities, the boundaries of which may be physical or psychological. This element of control reflects contemporary society's approach to the organisation and regulation of space, of the people within the space, and their relationship with nature.
Nature is often portrayed as a threat, as various coastal reinforcements are implemented to guide people away from perceived risks. Multiple fortifications, including urban furniture, encourage us to survey the natural environment from the safety of the man-made, be it from a bench or behind a wall, and those who venture beyond are alerted to a configuration of warning signs. When viewed collectively, patterns become evident, demonstrating a culture of coastal space of repetitive nature and function, each varying only in aesthetics. Lifeguards are present and many buildings open only during peak season, the patterns of use ebbing and flowing throughout each year.
Fluctuating between utilitarian and recreational, functional and ornate, these artificial structures and buildings of current and former use jar with the fluidity of the surrounding natural environment, yet we have become accustomed to them, recognising them as part of the contemporary coastal landscape.
A member of Young Photographers United's Elite, Victoria J. Dean (b. Belfast, 1980) graduated from Blackpool and the Fylde College in 2003 with a BA (Hons) in Photography, and has exhibited her work throughout the UK and Ireland in a number of group and solo exhibitions. She was commended by New York's PDN in their 30 Emerging Photographers to Watch for 2007, and was awarded Honourable Mention in the Magenta Foundation's Flash Forward 2007. Represented by the Golden Thread Gallery (Belfast) at SCOPE New York and in Elective Perspective at Galeria Arsenal in Bialystok, Poland (2010), Dean's work is held in the Arts Council of Northern Ireland Collection and a number of private collections in the UK and Ireland.
The Fortified Coastline has been made possible through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland's Artists Career Enhancement Programme (ACES). The exhibition was commissioned by Millennium Court Arts Centre.