The newly renovated Context Gallery will be opened by Nóirín 
McKinney, Director of Arts Development at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland

Wednesday, May 6th 2009, at 6:45pm
The reception for We Know More Than We can Tell… follows at 7:30pm

We Know More Than We Can Tell
Haraldur Jónsson
Jesper Just
Susan MacWilliam

Curated by Theo Sims

May 6th – 20th June, 2009
Opening Reception: Wednesday 6th May, 7.30pm
Refreshments provided by Corona

Haraldur Jónsson
Crumpled Darkness
2005-09, paper, dimensions variable
photo friðrik örn hjaltested © Haraldur Jonsson 
Jesper Just
A Vicious Undertow
2007, 10:00 min
Black and white
Super 16mm
Courtesy Galleri Christina Wilson <http://www.jesperjust.com/www.christinawilson.net> , Copenhagen
© Jesper Just 2007

Susan MacWilliam
Explaining Magic to Mercer
 Video, Colour, Stereo
© Susan MacWilliam


The exhibition examines the different ways that the exploration of emotion and language can be articulated, sometimes without words. Visual art has an extraordinary capacity to extend its reach beyond words, and the work of these artists’ explores this rich and intangible territory.  The traditional rules of language and narrative are subverted in the video work of Jesper Just, and a poetic response to language itself constructed within the sculptural/audio work of Haraldur Jonsson. Aspects of the imperceptible are negotiated between generations, in the video installation presented by Susan MacWilliam.

Haraldur Jónsson presents an audio work of a recording of a young Icelandic boy, reading out the names of fifty emotions in English, (a language unfamiliar to the boy). He slowly and delicately stumbles through the letters making up written words such as exuberant, passionate, defeated, cheated and jubilant. Jónsson will also present a sculpture/installation piece called Crumpled Darkness that delicately articulates the complexities of the experience of darkness, something profoundly resonant in Iceland.

Jesper Just’s short film, A Vicious Undertow masterly uses lush scenery, glossy production, and entrancing audio in order to reveal a complex and nuanced narrative. Just refuses to allow any articulation of a traditional story line, in spite of the films narrative, drawn out with a beautiful score of whistling and stares that offer up no end or resolution. A Vicious Undertow is scored and arranged with versions of Nights In White Satin by the Moody Blues, Rebel Waltz by the Clash and Gift of Redby Dorit Chrysler.

Susan MacWilliam presents Explaining Magic To Mercer; a short video that captures the openness of a young mind to accept and discuss intangible concepts such as telepathy, parapsychology and magic. The video features MacWilliam discussing with her five year old nephew Mercer, the bizarre and extraordinary phenomena attributed to the historical figures that have featured in her other works such as Kuda Bux, Madame Duplessis and Rosa Kuleshova. Susan MacWilliam will represent Northern Ireland in the Venice Biennale, 2009.



The Board of Directors of the Context Gallery welcome you to the newly renovated gallery for the launch of the exhibition:


curated by Gregory McCartney

opening Friday 17th April @ 7:30pm
17th April - 1st May 2009

Context Gallery is proud to host the work of Sharon Hayes as the fourth show in the series We The People... curated by Gregory McCartney. The exhibition consists of an audio installation, based on recordings from a multi-part performance performed in New York.

I March In The Parade Of Liberty But As Long A I Love You I'm Not Free, was a eight-part performance that took palce between December 2007 and January 2008, where Hayes walked from the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York to sites of public speech such as Union Square, Tompkins Square, Confucius Square in Chinatown, and Christoper Street Park.

"In this work, I stood on the street with a bullhorn in New York City and spoke a love letter to an anonymous 'you'. I look like I'm doing 'public speech' but I'm speaking to a lover who I've been separated from some reason that the texts don't quite explain. While I'm talking about love and desire, I am also bringing the war and the way in which the war interrupts and doesn't interrupt our daily lives, our activities, our desire, our love. For me, this work attempts to speak about certain intersections between love and politics that aren't so often talked about." (Hayes)

Continuing the artist's interrogation of the infinitesimal distance that separates the public from the private, this work is a reflection on the difference between speaking and listening - a kind of confession combining the idiom of politics, the transmission of secrets, and the language of love.

The subsequent audio installation is comprised of a PA system, speaker, and a single framed spray-painted work on paper.

Sharon Hayes is represented by Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin

We have now moved back to our renovated space in Artillery Street.
You are all welcome to join us for our next show:


Opening Friday 17th April @ 7:30 pm
17th April - 1st May 2009


Carolyn Monastra

Xaviera Simmons

Jose Ruiz

Curated by Gregory McCartney

Opening Saturday 7th March @ 7:30 pm
7th March – 25th March 2009

Whatever one thinks of it, it is an undoubted fact that the USA is at the forefront of modern existence, be it political, social or cultural.
Context Gallery in the third show in the series, ‘We the People’ brings to Derry an exploration of emerging American artists’ relationship with their country. Each of the artists will bring a different viewpoint and a different voice. It is important that we gain a sense of the many artistic viewpoints emanating from many differing cultures that make-up modern America as the issues explored in the work will inevitably have an effect locally. We tend to only hear a monolithic pro-or-anti position in regard to the contemporary USA. This project allows for a more considered approach. Context Gallery presenting its last show in St. Columb’s Hall, will use this platform to establish relationships between emerging art in the USA and emerging art in Ireland. The show is curated by Gregory McCartney in association with Context Gallery.

Carolyn Monastra
A graduate of Yale University’s School of Art, Carolyn Monastra’s interest in photography began as a high school student in Cleveland, Ohio. She continued her studies in the medium at Fordham University in New York City. After being a social worker for several years she enrolled in the MFA program at Yale University’s School of Art. Carolyn has exhibited in many venues in the United States and in the winter of 2009 she will be in her first international exhibit at Context Gallery in Derry, Ireland. Her awards include a travel grant from the English Speaking Union, a grant from the city of New Haven, and a multi-media fellowship from The Rotunda Gallery and Brooklyn Cable Access TV. Recent residencies at renowned art colonies, including The Djerassi Foundation, The Millay Colony, and Blue Mountain Center, have provided her with inspirational environments in which to pursue her work in the landscape. Her photographs are in The Margulies Warehouse Collection in Miami, The Johnson & Johnson Corporate Art Collection, and numerous private collections in the US and abroad. Carolyn currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Xaviera Simmons
Xaviera Simmons produces photographs, installation, videos and performances that expand on notions surrounding landscape, aesthetics, participation and history. Simmons received a BFA in photography from Bard College in 2004 after two years of pilgrimage retracing the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade. In 2005 she participated in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program while simultaneously completing a 2 year actor training program with the Maggie Flanigan Studio. In 2008, Xaviera was awarded a Jerome Foundation travel/study grant, an In The Public Realm commission from The Public Art Fund and was the recipient of the prestigious David C. Driskell Prize awarded by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Xaviera is the 2009 recipient of an Art matters fellowship and will participate in exhibitions at Context Gallery (Derry), jack Shainman Gallery (New York) and the Nasher Museum at Duke University (North Carolina) among numerous other exhibitions this year.
www.xavierasimmons.com (coming soon)

Jose Ruiz
José Ruiz is a Peruvian-born, New York City-based artist and curator who received his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute’s New Genres Program. Ruiz has shown his concept-based installations, videos, images and objects nationally and internationally while maintaining his socio-political interests and preference for showing them in non-profit and alternative exhibition spaces. His interdisciplinary and collaborative interests allow him to currently operate as the Gallery Director & Curator at the Bronx River Art Center, a curatorial consultant for the Queens Museum of Art, and in the following artist collectives: Decatur Blue (Washington, DC), Band Wagon (New York, NY), and The Global Collective (UK, France, Netherlands, USA). His artwork is represented by G Fine Art (Washington, DC) and Steven Wolf Fine Arts (San Francisco, CA). Ruiz has recently participated in the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning’s Workspace Program and Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art’s Emerge 10 Artist Fellowship Program.

Beyond - Mairead Dunne and Mary O’Kane

Mairead Dunne: birds in flight

Mary O'Kane: Beyond

16 january - 14 februrary 2009
Opening Reception: 7:30pm, friday 16 january
Artist's talk: 2pm, thursday 15 january

curated by James Kerr

In the final exhibition of the Derry?London?London? Derry? series, James Kerr curates Mairead Dunne and Mary O'Kane, two Belfast based emerging artists. Both artists explore the human psyche through an investigation of the physically of the London Street environs in terms of the geographical, historical, political and religious and social.

Dunne's work explores the relationship between past, present, life and mortality on London Street. Through a series of disused abandoned TV sets she creates self-contained worlds containing subject matter which hangs between reality and illusion.
These sculpturally defined environments are inhabited by scenes of the imaginary in an attempt to recapture the spirit of the street.  

Similarly O'Kane creates a series of surreal environments as representation of the unconscious memories the physical place evokes. Her intention is to reinvent the forgotten or what lies beyond or beneath the physical surface. These interpretations address the concept of history and the complex layers and illusion associated with recorded and spoken history.

There is a sense of oddness, sadness and unease that permeates both artists' work. In Dunne's abandoned TV sets lies a melancholy where the sense of isolation mirrors the emptiness of London street. The work is also embedded in nostalgia where the old television sets and imagery evoke memories of a forgotten era whilst recalling both the media frenzy that the period of the Troubles evoked and the sense of community and escapism that the television evoked.

O'Kane's environments also recall the past in a manner that explores the concept of the uncanny, that feeling of the unfamiliar in the ordinary and the frightening in the familiar as she creates narratives that delve below the surface of London Street and encourages the viewer to look within themselves as they engage with the work. Both artists have recently graduated from University of Ulster.

James Kerr is Director of the Verbal Art Centre and a former Director of the Context Gallery.

The opening reception is sponsored by LoveOlive