Seen Fifteen is delighted to announce the first London solo show for Belfast-based multi-disciplinary artist, Audrey Gillespie. The exhibition is the third in the curatorial series, The Troubles Generation – a project which invites Northern Irish artists to present work which sheds new light on the legacy of living in the shadow of the 30 year civil conflict known as The Troubles. The Troubles Generation series began with solo exhibitions by Martin Seeds and Gareth McConnell, two artists who were brought up at the height of the violence in the 1970s and 1980s. With Audrey Gillespie, the project turns to a new generation born at the time when the signing of the Good Friday Agreement officially brought the conflict to a close.
Audrey Gillespie will present a new iteration of an evolving, diaristic body of work titled, This Hurts. A graduate of Fine Art at Belfast School of Art, Gillespie’s practice incorporates analogue photography, painting, illustration and screen printing. This Hurts, when presented in the gallery, takes the form of an artistic ‘mind map’ reflecting upon both the personal concerns of the artist and the wider LGBTQ+ community in Northern Ireland. As a society traditionally steeped in extreme religious rhetoric, Northern Ireland has been slow to respond to the urgent human rights issues of the 21st century and was the last area of the United Kingdom to legalise same-sex marriage in 2020.
This Hurts explores contemporary themes of queerness, mortality, youth and anxiety against the backdrop of a post-Troubles world. Through a mix of photography, painting and written musings, Gillespie invites us into a nocturnal world that creates a palpable tension between the dreamlike and the nightmarish. Blurred and double-exposed photographs conjure warm, cinematic nostalgia whilst the recurring motifs of painted rats and singular eyes nod towards a darker, pervading anxiety in the atmosphere.
“There is a rawness to her imagery, reminiscent of Nan Goldin’s portraits of the New York scene, fused with Davide Sorrenti’s stylised hue. She captures her subjects through hazy, unpolished 35mm film, often layered one on top of another, with the distorted lights of the outside world seeping into frame. From unearthly images of angels at night, to everyday encounters with friends, this series captures and subsequently invites the viewer to consider the vibrant – and often turbulent – lives of queer youth in Northern Ireland” Donal Talbot for Over Journal, Volume 2