GARETH McCONNELL

THE BRIGHTER THE FLOWERS, THE FIERCER THE TOWN

13 MAY - 19 JUNE 2022

“Sometimes it seems in Northern Ireland, that the fiercer the town, the more flamboyant the hanging baskets of flowers. Carrick has lots of them, swinging in the north wind”

Susan McKay, Carrickfergus, Source Magazine (2001)

Seen Fifteen is delighted to announce a solo show with Gareth McConnell as the next exhibition in the ongoing series, The Troubles Generation – a curatorial project which invites artists who grew up in Northern Ireland during The Troubles to shed new light on the impact of being brought up in an era of intense sectarian violence.

The title for the show, The Brighter the Flowers, The Fiercer the Town, is taken from an essay written by Susan McKay about McConnell’s early-career documentary series entitled Portraits & Interiors from The Albert Bar (1999), photographed in a loyalist bar in his hometown of Carrickfergus during the aftermath of the Good Friday Agreement.

For this exhibition, McConnell positions the flower as a central motif. He invites the viewer to partake in a journey inspired by formative embodied experiences that oscillate between raves and funeral processions to present a disparate world of visual references made comprehensible using his signature hallucinogenic language.

“McConnell’s flowers. Coloured shadows. Slippage. De-registration. Screaming colour. Narcissistic, posturing, pop star tight-balls-trousers colours. Synaesthesia colours and intimate human perfumes. Vertiginous planes of colour as seen by the industrious bee on his or her daily commute to the flower convenience store. The engorged take-me-to-bed-and-fuck-me flower colours of sex. An explosion of petals in a Northern Ireland flower stall, many people brought to violent orgasm. Pleasure. Total. The floral. McConnell your florist”

Neal Brown, The Meaning of Flowers, 2022

The Brighter The Flowers, The Fiercer The Town is the second in a series of exhibitions at Seen Fifteen as part of the wider project, The Troubles Generation, generously supported by the Genesis Kickstart Fund. Looking ahead to a significant future moment in UK and Irish history with the 25th anniversary of The Good Friday Agreement in 2023, the project seeks to examine the legacy of The Troubles from the viewpoint of artists born into its divided society and with lived experience of growing up during the conflict. Taking a phased approach to developing photographic projects and new writing, the ultimate ambition is to create a large-scale touring exhibition in 2023. Artists exhibiting at Seen Fifteen include Martin Seeds, Gareth McConnell and Audrey Gillespie.

Gareth McConnell, Dream Meadow XIV, 2021

MARTIN SEEDS

NO COUNTRY FOR YOUNG MEN

4th-21st NOVEMBER 2021

Seen Fifteen is delighted to announce a solo show of new works by Northern Irish artist, Martin Seeds. The exhibition, No Country For Young Men, also marks the beginning of a long-term curatorial project at the gallery, The Troubles Generation, which will unfold in chapters over the coming 12 months, generously supported by the Genesis Kickstart Fund.

Martin Seeds (born in Belfast) dedicates his artistic practice to an ongoing examination of Northern Irish identity, politics and place. He employs differing modes of experimentation with photographic process as a means of encouraging us to reconsider the image and look again. No Country For Young Men looks back, via appropriation, at a series of found portraits in a Belfast school yearbook from 1965. This was a time, a few years before the civil conflict known as “The Troubles” started, when political tensions in Northern Ireland were rising and trouble was brewing. Seeds’ act of appropriation places these 1960s school portraits into our current moment, and from our historical vantage point asks us to consider how individual lives in Northern Ireland were affected by the backdrop of a violent conflict that would last for 30 years.

“What will become of these boys, their youth and their fragile aspirations, as the shadow of history falls across their lives? It is not just the past that is hauntingly present in these humble portraits, but the looming, uncertain, tumultuous future”

Sean O’Hagan

No Country For Young Men is the first in a new series of exhibitions and events that will take place at Seen Fifteen as part of a wider project, The Troubles Generation. Looking ahead to a significant future moment in UK and Irish history with the 25th anniversary of The Good Friday Agreement in 2023, the project seeks to examine the legacy of The Troubles from the viewpoint of artists born into its divided society and with lived experience of growing up during the conflict. Taking a phased approach to developing photographic projects and new writing, the ultimate ambition is to create a large-scale touring exhibition in 2023.

Martin Seeds, No Country For Young Men (2020)

LIGHT

CATRINE VAL & LIAO JIAMING

10-25 SEPTEMBER 2021

Seen Fifteen is delighted to host an exhibition of work curated by Monica Allende which invites a group of emerging artists to reflect on the current context of Hong Kong through the theme of light. The exhibition takes place across two venues, at Seen Fifteen and also at Safehouse 2, and is part of Peckham 24 festival of contemporary photography 10-12th September.

‘Light’ features artists Caleb Fung, Liao Jiaming, O’Young Moli, Julian, Tang Kwong San, Yuen Nga Chi, Wong Wei-him and Catrine Val. Each offers varied interpretations of the theme while exploring the possibilities of the media of photography, film, performance, and pinhole camera to bring attention to the city’s transforming social climate. A catalogue will be published by Morel to coincide with the exhibition, consisting of six individual saddle stitched books designed by Sarah Boris.

Catrine Val, Light Matters

BJP INTERNATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS

IPA SINGLE IMAGE SHOW

30 APRIL - 22 MAY 2021

Seen Fifteen is delighted to host the inaugural IPA Singles Show as part of the British Journal of Photography’s International Photography Awards.

Running for 15 years, the BJP International Photography Award discovers the best in contemporary talent around the world and has launched the careers of some of today’s most sought-after photographers. Each year the award brings together a judging panel of industry leaders to celebrate and reward one outstanding body of work with a solo show at TJ Boulting. In 2020 the award was expanded to include an additional group show category – awarding 20 single image winners a show at Seen Fifteen.

Michael Barry, IPA Single Image Awards Winner 2020