Seán Lynch

5 December 2008 – 2 January, 2009
opening reception: 7.30pm, Friday, 5th December
artist talk: 2pm, Thursday, 4th December

Curated by Gregory McCartney

Seán Lynch’s diverse artworks investigate and shine a spotlight on a wide range of subjects, magnifying traces of an often-idiosyncratic existence. Throughout Europe the culture of progress predominates rather than a culture of survival. Lynch is specifically interested in the friction between these two processes, often referring to Walter Benjamin’s subtle notion of ‘revolutionary nostalgia,’ an approach that considers the resonance of history and site in critical relation to contemporary discourse. In his first solo exhibition in Northern Ireland, the Context Gallery presents a survey of artworks realised by Lynch in the last three years.

The videowork Latoon, recalls folklorist Eddie Lenihan’s 1999 campaign to save a whitethorn bush from being destroyed by the construction of a €90 million road scheme in County Clare. In 1999, he claimed that this bush is an important meeting place for supernatural forces of the region, and warned that its destruction would result in death and great misfortune for motorists travelling on the proposed new road. Clare County Council, acting on his advice, eventually changed the direction of the road away from the bush. In 2006, Lenihan agrees to further explain the significance of the bush. As Lynch’s camera crew arrive at Latoon, they encounter the construction of another road nearby, and the bush once more seems to be in danger…

Another video work, records the introduction of peregrine falcons, the fastest creature in the world, into the Moyross housing estate in Limerick City. These birds, once populous around Ireland before the use of pesticides in the 1960s made them an endangered species, now fly over the rooftops of a housing estate about to disappear, with a regeneration plan being now announced. With miniature video cameras attached to their bodies, their free flights record a place about to disappear under the failed agendas of urban planning.

Continuing an interest in hidden narratives of site, Lynch traces the location of the last street Walter Benjamin walked on, in Portbou, Spain. Completing the show, a series of photographs detail Dana’s triumphant homecoming to Dublin Airport in 1970, after winning the Eurovision Song Contest. An editioned poster, availible to all visitors to the exhibition, recalls her touchdown and subsequent trip to Derry in detail. Incidentially, Dana sang an Irish lullaby in Saint Columb’s Hall, now the location of the Context Gallery, when she was six years old. She won a talent competition with her recital.

Seán Lynch was born in Kerry in 1978. He studied history at the University of Limerick and fine art at the Stadelschule in Frankfurt. He has completed solo exhibitions at the Gallery of Photography, Dublin (2008), Heaven’s Full, London (2008), Galway Arts Centre (2007), Limerick City Gallery of Art (2007), and Ritter and Staiff, Frankfurt (2006). He has featured in recent group exhibitions at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, the Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork and Office Baroque, Antwerp.

London Street: A Visual Exploration

10th October – 21st November
Opening Reception: 7.30, Friday 10th October

Curator: Sarah Edge, Head of School Media, Film and Journalism, University of Ulster

Three Collaborative Projects:

Anne Burke and Gail Baylis: Photography
Anne Crilly and Vincent O'Callaghan: Video
Sarah Edge, Rowan Morrey and Shelly Garrett: Interactive Media

London Street is a Georgian street steeped in history and located in the centre of Derry City, shadowed by the historic city walls. This was the creative springboard for each of these new visual projects.
Together these projects offer the viewer a stimulating and thought-provoking journey through a number of virtual London Streets.
These three art projects have been created as part of a novel collaboration between academic staff, located within the School of Media, Film and Journalism at the University of Ulster and emerging artists who have a close connection to the School.
Two of these young artists are recent graduates, one is currently studying for an MA in Documentary Practice and one was based in the School’s Centre for Media Research.
This staff ‘student’ collaboration worked in different ways whereby academics help forge a productive relationship between theory and practice and the emerging artists help such ideas grow creatively, culminating in the works produced for this show.
Sarah Edge, Curator

London Street: Surrender
This video installation explores Derry as the Maiden City. London St, within the city walls and in the shadow of St Columb’s Cathedral, projects an aura of respectability yet, just around the corner, behind the elegant facades of Pump Street, is a hidden history of women which can be explored. 4 Pump Street was, in a past life, a brothel serving the respectable elders of the city. Today, ‘Pathways’ at the other end of Pump Street, is the education and outreach department of Foyle Women’s Aid which offers support and education for victims of domestic violence. Anne Crilly and Vincent O’Callaghan’s audio-visual investigation of ‘London Street- Surrender’ explores issues surrounding the historical and contemporary control and surrender of women.

SARAH EDGE with ROWAN MORREY and SHELLY GARRETT: Interactive walkthrough- Path to the Portal, an Interactive Diorama
London Street is a path, a journey in itself, to one of the city’s gates. Photographs themselves are gates into our memories; to our own journeys long since passed, soon to be revisited. Sound is the ‘music’ without which a walk down the street would seem unreal and even disturbing and unnatural. This work combines these elements in Adobe/Macromedia Flash to allow the viewer to create their own paths to the portals along London Street.
The project is a myriad of still photos, compiled in Flash, mapping the path through London Street and out to Butcher’s Gate. Still images shot at intervals along the street provide the viewer with a more revealing and textured feel to the project. Shot in monochromatic as well as in colour the user can walk the street using the keyboard and enter the many “gates” or “portals” of the buildings along the journey, peeling back the historic skin to find the blood of modern life and commercialism alive and well in this historic setting. This is combined with audio that captures the modernity of the atmosphere belying the historic nature of the buildings which in turn, mask the businesses and companies that operate from within.

GAIL BAYLIS with ANNE BURKE: Photographic installation, History begins at ground level, with footsteps
How can we understand the materiality of London Street, a street still encountered primarily by the experience of the pedestrian? Michel De Certeau's theorization of the city gaze affords one inroad into engaging with the particularities and characteristics of this street. This work speaks not only of the street's material identity but also its past. Street directories afford a means to access this history at ground level - they reference the city through the trades and professions to be found in its streets. However, the written record alone, while offering a means into the experience of London Street, cannot articulate the visual register of the experience of walking that street. For this we need to pay attention to the coordinates of the street gaze.
This installation does not aim to define but, rather, it registers the inherent transience in the street gaze. That gaze is resistant to definition and to capture by the camera. It is fleeting, mobile, diffused; has passed in the moment of its recording. It is a subversive practice - oppositional to the aerial gaze wherein distance serves to render movement as containable and static and in which the camera operates as a means for surveillance.

Context Gallery hires new Director

Press Release:

The Context Gallery, Derry

The Context Gallery is pleased to announce the appointment of the new Director, Theo Sims. Sims has organised numerous national and international exhibitions and projects and brings a wealth of experience to the Context.

Theo Sims has moved back to Northern Ireland from Canada where he was the Programming Coordinator at a contemporary artist-run centre called aceartinc. located in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Sims's achievements are particularly evident with his support and promotion of emerging artists such as Melanie Authier, Adad Hannah, Frieso Boning and this years Sobey Award nominee Daniel Barrow. Sims has worked with international artists such as Donigan Cumming, Rebecca Belmore and Steingrimur Eyfjord and has most recently founded and co-organised (In)Visible Cities, a festival of performance and off-site installations featuring artists such as Nhan Duc Nguyen, FASTWURMS, Cheryl L'Hirondelle and Finger In The Dyke Productions.

Prior to working at aceartinc., Sims was the Managing Editor for BlackFlash Magazine, a contemporary arts magazine focussing of photography and lens based art and he has also enjoyed success as an independent artist; his work being featured in the exhibition, Crack the Sky, curated by Wayne Baerwaldt, for La Biennale de Montréal 2007. He has also had several solo shows across Canada with forthcoming exhibitions in Vancouver and Ontario.

Theo Sims is an alumnus of the University of Ulster, (receiving his MA in 1994), and previous member of Orchid Studio's in Belfast from 1991-1998. He is looking forward to steering the gallery ahead in its fifteenth year of operation and launching the newly renovated space in the spring of 2009.

The Context Gallery was established in 1993 specifically to support and encourage emerging fine and applied Irish artists, and to develop links between emerging Irish artists and emerging artists in other countries. It the only gallery in the North-West of Ireland dedicated to providing a platform for emerging artists.

Anna Boyle

curated by Damien Duffy

Opening Saturday 19th July 2008 @ 8 pm

Exhibition runs until 26th September 2008

The project Derry London grew out of a discussion regarding a painting made in 1988, A grey stained raw canvas affair with the text Derry – London, painted in capitals at either side of the canvas, like an exploded cartography that mapped a nonsite, of neither Irish or English.

The choice to leave the homeland and to opt for a sense of exiled exclusion within London. An `ideality` of not belonging as an option in a landscape of entrenched identities. The use of London St. as a locus for this series of exhibitions could be mirrored in Derry St. in west London, the link built into the streets of both places. The post agreement landscape now serves to protect both identities via the relinquishment of the politics of antagonism towards the politics of inclusion and difference. The eventual recognition of difference within citizenship marks a move to a normalized society, that works on various social contracts that allow us as subjects to form our worlds, be they collective or individualistic.

It is this landscape of the social contract and the psychological spaces these allow us to create that Anna Boyle works with in Derry London. Text derived from the contacts offered tend towards a guarantee of met needs or the need for recipients of services offered. `We will` is a floral tribute made of thousands of hand crafted paper flowers points to a positive wilful `yes` whose real direction is left open, funereal in its delivery the statements positivity is underwritten in the manner of a memorial.
This language of flowers is an immediate reference to the so many floral tributes that adorn the main public space in London St., namely the Cathedral. The collective identity is at once attributable to the specificity of religious identity rather than the secular contracts offered in the other works.

I had originally started with the text “individual conduct” our conduct, the idea of how we take part in civil society which brought me on to contracts of kinds I mentioned before and I started to think of Londonderry or Derry London as a kind of contract of identities and I guess trying to negotiate these identities within the workings of social contracts and also exploring the idea of a “communal shelter” with these statements, what we rely on as groups of people, our identities, traditions, religious, cultural etc, and the more modern plastic offers from commercial industry. There’s an element of memorial about the work large affirmations, but also they are a form of protest rejecting clienthood, dependency, and coded relationships, searching for human space.` The inclusivity that now so underwrites the new political cartography of NI is that which permeates the larger social landscape as subjects within global capitalism, “we need you, for our need” marks out the requirement of both producers and consumers alike, as both are now intrinsically one as subjects now enter the shop floor of world making, cooperation now leads us towards the production of common goods which in turn can produce new and unique lines of flight for the subject and the socious, allowing for the continual recreation of our world as product of our imaginings.
Damien Duffy, 2008

Anna Boyle, currently living and working in Dublin, studied at N.C.A.D Dublin 1997-2001 BA Art and Design Education, and a MFA in 2001-2003 at University of Ulster, Belfast.

Solo Exhibitions:
2007 - WE’RE GOING TO DIE, Old Museum Arts Centre, Belfast,
“Its not clear at this stage..” Draiocht Arts Centre, Dublin
Selected Group Exhibitions:
2006 - Biennial of Drawing, Bohemia Museum, Pilsen, Czech Republic,
2005 OFFSIDE, Hugh Lane, Dublin City Gallery, Dublin.
“Final Phase Launching”, (Two person Show) Pallas Heights, Dublin.
Claremorris Open, Claremorris Co Mayo.
Iontas, Sligo Art Gallery, Sligo
Working towards solo exhibitions:
2009 - Triskel Arts Centre, Cork, 2010 Roscommon Arts Centre Co Roscommon

"Past to Present"
HND Fine Art Student Exhibition NWRC

Commissioned Artwork Project for the Context Gallery and the North West Visual Archive

The student work in this exhibition has made in response to the work a group of selected artists who have exhibited in the North West in the last three decades. These artists include Victor Sloan, Alaistar McLennan, Dermot Seymour, Alice Maher and others who have all exhibited at either the Context Gallery or The Orchard Gallery. The students were asked to closely consider both the concepts and processes used by these artists and to freely interpret thereafter. This has resulted in a wide range of exciting and individual works that have been realised by a wide variety of means, including photography, sculpture, painting, installation and in one case, taxidermy.

The students would like to thanks the staff of the Context Gallery and the North West Visual Archive for their support.

Annette O’Toole
Christine Gilloway
Danielle Gallagher
John Mc Eldowney
Cahal Argue

Maria McKinney

curated by Jonathan Burgess

Opening Friday 16th May @ 8 pm

Exhibition runs until 14th June 2008

Still acknowledged - whether consciously or not - London Street still provides one of the many invisible boundaries segregating a city from an element of it's population. Running parallel with the4 main thoroughfare through Londonderry, London street is a world away from the hustle and bustle of a modern 21st Century city centre. A narrow street from pump Street to New gate with the high church buildings which bank and bolster a heritage and history which is seldom acknowledged, creating an echo chamber for tightly strung snares, which snap the history awake for a few brief moments each year. Still a place of incendiary where a thin gloss of modern does nothing to disturb the roots of the old. God bless london Street. Jonathan Burgess

The place London St. alludes to the idea of a centre and a periphery while also marking the extension of an empire. A namesake will extend a lineage and prolong its longevity as a people, place or establishment. The nucleus is where power resides. It has an aspirational position in relation to its outer regions. For this exhibition McKinney will produce a series of drawings and sculptures. her work explores subjects of boredom and activities used to pass the time, echoing the nature of their objective.

Since graduating from the University of Ulster in 2005, Maria McKinney has exhibited at both a national and international level including the National gallery of Ireland, the RHA and RDS Dublin; Golden Thread Gallery and Old Museum Arts Centre, Belfast; Crawford Municipal Art Gallery, Cork and Sligo Gallery of Art. She also exhibited in Resolutions at the Katzen Arts Centre in association with the Smithsonian Institute, washington and the 411 gallery in Shanghai, China. Her work is included in the Office of Public Works, Bank of Ireland and private collections. Her practice includes drawing, sculpture, installation and intervention. She is currently a member of Orchid Studios.

Context Galleries
Aideen Doran
Alyson Edgar
Fergal McSwiggan
Curated by Emma Donaldson
Derry? London? London? Derry?
Opening 8pm Saturday 5th April 2008
The Exhibition will run until 3rd May 2008
Aideen Doran
Two cities built upon a stratified clutter of histories... like Leonias rubbish, the boundaries between these places uncertain, shifting, threatening an avalanche. An unstable line, drawn from the centre (London) to the periphery (Derry)- a fragmenting sense of place- London Street, on the margin of the walled city. Drawing/ erasing/ over-writing/ re-drawing/ recovering/ constructing...The linear time of labour involved in these processes condenses into seconds of film, looping and folding back upon its volume. Entropy parallels renewal. Macro/micro histories, local/national scales conflated. Provisional monuments, provided for uncertain places.Representing the space - constructing a removal from itThe hand-made, hand drawn suggest vernacular means of managing the politics of space, translating these histories into the everyday life, the invisible into the visible.Ordering/ mapping/ describing/ navigating...These complex relationships become a web of information, collapsing under its own gravity.

Aideen Doran graduated from the University of Ulster, Belfast in 2007. Previous shows include RDS Student Art Awards, Dublin (2006), Heal, Naughton Gallery, Belfast (2007) and EV+A 2008; Too Early for Vacation, Limerick. She currently lives in Belfast, working at Flax Art Studios as part of their Graduating Student Residency programme.
Alyson Edgar
I am an artist working on an exhibition for the Context Gallery entitled “Derry/ London – London/ Derry?”, which will be shown in the Orchard Gallery space at the beginning on April.
I am interested in discovering alternative ways by which to map a landscape. In this forthcoming exhibition I intend to study the map/ route patterns that surround London Street, patterns made by those who use the street most.
I would greatly appreciate your participation. All the information gathered from collaborations will become the installed art in the gallery.
Initially I would appreciate it if you could write only your home postcode on the back of this card. This would be the postcode from which you commute to London Street. Please retain both this card and its envelope as they will be displayed in the gallery as part of the work.
Kind regards and many thanks in advance!
Hope to speak to you soon,
Alyson Edgar.

Born in Belfast, N. Ireland Alyson Edgar creates work that focuses on the visualisation and cartographic documentation of journeys.
Unfamiliar landscapes are logged and archived in an interactive and collaborative manner, utilising elements of serendipity and voyeurism.
Her work is presented in a structured pseudo-scientific format cataloguing the events of each investigation.

Bio details:
Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1985. Graduated with BA Hons in Fine and Applied Art: Installation/ Sculpture, from University of Ulster: Belfast, 2007.
Selected exhibitions : “Claremorris Open Exhibition”, Co. Mayo 2007. “Energy in Art” Phoenix Gas Headquarters, Belfast 2004.
Publications : Degree Shows: Critics Choices - CIRCA, Issue 121; Claremorris Open Exhibition Catalogue 2007; Perspective 2004 – ‘Arts Review’.
Fergal McSwiggan
Ulster Wayward

Why go outside? What is there to do? Public spaces in Northern Ireland. Rural, urban and suburban. How they are occupied, how they are abandoned, how they are desirable and undesirable. Public interaction with self and environment. London St in Derry/Londonderry, Gerry/Londongerry. What do we do now with our open spaces, on a Saturday night in Belfast or Derry, or on a Wednesday afternoon in Omagh or Strabane? Open public spaces were used for many different activities during the troubles, what are they used for now? A walk through the Lagan Meadows, or a walk along the Derry walls. A drive through the South Sperrins scenic route, or through the North-West Passage. Camping out in Belvoir Park, or camping on London street. Walking the Ulster Wayward.

Fergal McSwiggan lives in Belfast and works and recreates here and all over Ireland. Originally from Omagh, County Tyrone, his work is concerned with issues of communication, place and identity, tourism and recreation, as well as rural and urban public space in post-conflict Northern Ireland. He is interested in the misrepresented visual culture of Northern Ireland, and how it was in the past, often seen as urban and violent, when it is predominantly pastoral and peaceful.

Context 'We the People...' Outreach Show

16th Feb 08 - 22nd Mar 08

Swift Sequential Intimacies

07th Mar 08 @ 8pm

- 15th March 08

Cliona Harmey; Allan Hughes; Paul Murnaghan; Slavek Kwi

Opening 8pm Friday 7th March Main Theatre, St Columb’s Hall

Exhibition runs until 15th March 2008

Opening Hours 11 am - 5pm

Context Galleries presents ‘Swift Sequential Intimacies’ a weeklong exhibition by Cliona Harmey, Allan Hughes, Paul Murnaghan and Slavek Kwi investigating the Main Theatre Space in St. Columb’s Hall using the medium of sound.

Cliona Harmey’s ‘Seating Set’ work takes the form of a series of differently sequenced recordings using the sound of the on site theatre seating. Cliona Harmey is an artist who works across a variety of media including video, photography, sound and the Internet. Much of her work is about the process of recording, particularly small mutable everyday phenomena.She is currently based in Dublin and is a lecturer at The National College of Art & Design, Dublin. She studied Sculpture, graduating in 1992 and has exhibited in curated shows in Ireland and internationally. In 1999- 2000 she completed a one year residency at Arthouse Multimedia Centre, Dublin, which introduced her to working in the area of moving image and sound. She recently completed a multidisciplinary MA in Visual Practices at Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art Design and Technology which combines students of curating, writing and art practice. She is also one of the founding members of an online open publishing system for artists.

Allan Hughes’ ‘Auditoria’ work sets down somewhere inside a narrative of surveillance and counter-surveillance and begins to negotiate a course through our relationship to the surrounding audio environment. The work consistently makes reference to instances of looking but withholds this privilege from the spectator and instead establishes a system of auditory mise en scené by locating the listener in a series of audio settings (5.1 surround, stereo and mono). This not only locates them in the listening space but works to reproduce other spaces, repositioning their listening experience within the diegesis and the technologies that appear within. The course the work takes, aims to reflect our constantly fluctuating relationship to recording and mediated technologies and their impact on our understanding of events, people and places around us. That despite the promises to “bring us closer” they also function to produce a more precarious and detached subjectivity, maintaining a network that constantly keeps us apart.
Allan Hughes is a board member of Factotum and the Digital Arts Studios at Queen Street. His work has been presented both nationally and internationally, most recently for “Northern Bound” at Sla rosa in Quebec, a solo show at the Old Museum Arts Centre in Belfast and an exhibition in the G126 gallery in Galway. He is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Ulster entitled “Synchronisation, Authority & Duplicity: Screening The Voice”, where his research focuses on the development of our relationship to synchronised dialogue in cinema and more specifically our production and understanding of the recorded voice and it’s inclination to multiply meaning in the act of listening.

Paul Murnaghan's work Time loss recognition for heat exposure in humans (A sound work composed from the utterances of domestic pets) explores connective phenomena within the psychology of belief. Research within this area has led him to advertise his memory capacity for sale (Memorious - 2006) and to publish a contract in which an art space agreed to commission work that no one would ever see (Auto Da Fe - 2007).
Murnaghan constructs mnemonic devices which act as catalysts towards rendezvous, ritual and installation. Curation is a part of this process and projects rarely happen without other people and the generosity of exchange.With this new composition he uses the communicative powers of domestic pets to examine the telepathy of intense relationships.
Paul Murnaghan is a Dublin based artist and a graduate of the Masters in Visual Arts Practice I.A.D.T. He has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally and was Artistic Director / curator of 5th Gallery at Guinness Storehouse for its existence (2000-03). Recent work includes 'Synesthesia Sat' which he curated as part of Birr Arts Festival, Co.Offaly. Forthcoming exhibitions include 'A line describing nothings', in May at The Lab, Foley St, Dublin and 'Neocreedo' in August at Platform, Vaasa, Finland.

Slavek Kwi’s new submersive 4D_soundwork ‘Morpheme (Signals from the Outer Zone of Human Perception – Movement 2) on 5.1 system uses recordings of sounds that exist on the periphery of human perception, such as underwater recordings, ultrasound and electromagnetic signals. Composition combines sounds generated from ultrasounds as sonar of bats and echo-location clicks of pink dolphins and other sounds of nocturnal amazon rainforest with signal-sounds from urban environment and inside airplane. The work was created February 2008, Ivy Cottage_Ireland.
Slavek Kwi is explorer, sound-artist and composer fascinated by sound-environments for the last 27 years, creating complex audio-situations mainly from site specific recordings, resulting in digitally frozen contemplations as multi-channel cinema for ears, sound-installations and soundworks designed for CDs. Interested also in free-music research as part of social investigation and employing the space and any objects it contains as musical instrument. His works oscillates between purely sound based and multidisciplinary projects. From the early nineties Slavek has operated under the name Artificial Memory Trace. He has published 11 CD/LP-albums and contributed to numerous international compilations and projects. AMT works are performed, distributed and/or broadcasted across Europe, North America, Australia and Mexico. For details see