‘Between shadows, shadows.’


Katharine Paisley, Performance Art, March 2022. Exhibted at Platform Arts, Belfast as part of ‘Control Room’.

In her first experimentation with performance art, 'Between shadows, shadows.' Paisley takes influence from Plato's allegory of the cave; in which a shadow represents a fake truth or an illusion of reality. Using charcoal, water and tempera paint, she tries to outline or contain her shadow. An attempt to cement or control her reality, which is not and cannot be achieved.



Images courtesy of Chloe Austin


Control Room
Platform Gallery, Belfast Duo Show


In this collaborative exhibition, Katharine Paisley and Phil Keers join together to explore concepts of control and reality. The exhibition consists of painting, sculpture, installation, film, text and audio works. The title, ‘Control Room’ reflects how the audience will experience the works; in some works they can control how they engage, in some they can only exercise their influence and in other work they will be completely outside both control and reality. The works in the exhibition are heavily influenced by mythology, supersition and philosophy.



In her works, 'One for sorrow, two for joy...', Katharine explores the idea of superstitions; inherited beliefs that we can choose to believe or not. In the case of belief, these superstitions have complete control over a person's good or bad fortune.

In her first experimentation with performance art, 'Between shadows, shadows.' Paisley takes influence from Plato's allegory of the cave; in which a shadow represents a fake truth or an illusion of reality. Using charcoal, water and tempera paint, she tries to outline or contain her shadow. An attempt to cement or control her  reality, which is not and cannot be achieved.

In each of Keers' work featured, he explores the idea of objects or beings born from the subconscious. The sculpture 'Burden'; a large boulder made from a wire structure and modrock plaster bandage, represents emotional baggage or lived trauma. The boulder is wrapped in chains made from clay representing the shackles of your own making. The inescapable weight of reality, further referencing Plato's allegory of the cave.

In the installation 'Black Dogs', Phil explores his experience of learning to understand his own Mental Health and more specifically his experience of suffering from Depression, having been diagnosed with the disorder in his early 20s. "The older that I get, the more I realise that I have to come to peace with how my brain works. I have to learn to live with it. Depression isn't something that I think will ever go away completely, and so it sits there angrily. Waiting for the moment to take hold again."

In their collaborative piece, Keers and Paisley invite the viewer to interact and see themselves within the work. 'Not Empty, FULL', attempts to capture the emotional response to a harsh and unfair reality.


Images courtesy of Chloe Austin

Surroundings
Flax Project Space, Belfast
Group Show
3 - 10 March 2022




Surroundings is a group exhibition based on the environment that we submerge
ourselves in, both in nature and at home. Throughout diverse artistic methods and
mediums, a selection of Flax Emerging Artists present works that are linked by their subject: the nature, scenes and surroundings closest to each artist, whether that be physically or metaphorically. Whether representational or abstract, each work demonstrates the intimate relationship we have with our surroundings, allowing it to influence and inspire our current art practices.
Flax Art Studios Emerging Artist Programme is a satellite project of 34 recent
graduate and emerging artists occupying 7 North St, Belfast. To coincide with this
programme Flax opened a project space on the ground floor, providing opportunities
for the artists involved to curate and programme their own exhibitions and events.

Here’s Me Here
Flax Project Space, Belfast Group Show
3 - 6 February 2022




‘Here’s Me Here’ is a collection of objects and things that represent and inform the practice of the Flax Emerging Artists. Each artist has picked one thing that either heavily influences or represents their work. The things in this space mirror the diversity of the studio spaces next door and provide an introduction to each artist.
The video piece at the back of the space provides a sneak peak into 7 North Street and the activity going on inside. Each individual artist has provided a glimpse of the space they and their practice inhabits.
Flax Art Studios Emerging Artist Programme is a satellite project of 34 recent graduate and emerging artists occupying 7 North St, Belfast. To coincide with this programme Flax opened a project space on the ground floor, providing opportunities for the artists involved to curate and programme their own exhibitions and events. This is the first event curated by the artists on the programme.



AND THEN IT ALL GOT DARK
Glass House Gallery, Shankill Road Library, Belfast
Solo Show


17 September 2021 - 8 January 2022

‘AND THEN IT ALL GOT DARK’ is an exploration into escapism. Paisley’s practice explores the Anthropocene, the most recent period in Earth’s history, where human activity has begun to have a significant detrimental impact on the Earth’s systems. In the past, her work has explored the evidence behind the Anthropocene, introducing the viewer to the same sense of inevitability she feels surrounding the planetary situation. In this work, she began to think about the mentality of people simultaneously living in and creating the Anthropocene.

‘AND THEN IT ALL GOT DARK’, makes the comparison between the Anthropocene and youth, coming of age and the messy escapism that comes with it. Paisley is comparing the mentality of people living in the Anthropocene with that of Youth. Coming to terms with the reality or levity of a situation can often seem too much. A much simpler, yet more problematic reaction to facing a problem head on, is to spiral and seek out distractions. It’s easier to choose escapism over solutions.
In 2017 a psychological study researching Youth and escapism, ‘Coping Through Escapism: How Today's Youth Deals With Stress’ by Dr. Ilona Jerabek and Deborah Muoio, found that the top coping strategy adopted by Centennials (people born after 1995) was distraction, which only placed no. 5 for the previous generation of Millennials.

‘Consistently dealing with stressful situations by resorting to distraction can lead to escapism, where the individual completely loses touch with reality through social media, video games, books, movies and, on the more extreme side, drugs and alcohol. Temporary distraction is fine, but you can’t avoid your problems forever.’ - Dr. Ilona Jerabek and Deborah Muoio, ‘Coping Through Escapism: How Today's Youth Deals With Stress’, PsychTests AIM Inc, 2017.
She finds comparisons with her lines of thought and Plato’s allegory of the cave. Just like Plato’s prisoners, we turn back to the safety of the cave and its shadows. We choose an illusion of the truth, a fake but easier reality. The oil paintings, acrylic paintings and videos pieces within the exhibition depict places and scenes of escapism. Places she has gone to escape. The works have been created from her own pictures and videos of concerts and festivals. Within the exhibition she explores how painting can also exist beyond a 2D image.




Images courtesy of Ben Malcomson