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@MrUlster

Book review: This is Magritte

A concise, well written, and thoughtfully illustrated book about a master of surrealism. Learnt interesting insights about Rene Magritte. One can appreciate how aspects of his life affected his artistic work, including his family experiences, coming of age, and his (sometimes fraught) relationships with friends and peers. The book also provides good explanations of the contests for artistic narratives, for example the distinction between the Parisian and Belgian surrealists (the role of music is key). And clarity of Magritte’s views about his own work, for example his firm rebuttal of psychoanalytical interpretations: “In my painting, a bird is a bird. And a bottle is a bottle, not a symbol of a womb.” (But we can ask, “Is it a pipe?”)

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@MrUlster @NorthernSlant

Exposure therapy: Natural Connections exhibition

Exposure therapy: Natural Connections exhibition
by Allan LEONARD
17 June 2021

Belfast Exposed launched its exhibition, “Natural Connections”, which showcases 60 shortlisted images, from over 1,400 received. The competition ran earlier this year, asking people to submit images that represented connections with nature, which “sustained, surrounded, supported, and encouraged people and communities” during the pandemic.

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@MrUlster

Book review: Irish Summers (Harry GRUYAERT)

Book review: Irish Summers (Harry GRUYAERT)
by Allan LEONARD
21 March 2021

Harry Gruyaert’s work is recognisable by its saturated colours of thoughtfully chosen hues. The interplay with light is also crucial. There are images in Irish Summers that exemplify such decisive moments, when colour and light come together to satisfy Gruyaert’s quest for sensual beauty in the otherwise banal.

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@NorthernSlant Photography Projects

Altered Context: A New Parameters project

Altered Context: A New Parameters project
by Allan LEONARD
20 July 2020

New Parameters was an online engagement project, with participants creating images of their responses to the arrival and presence of the COVID-19 pandemic in Northern Ireland. The Nerve Centre hosted collaboration, through video calls and the online platform, Slack. The following is my submission, named “Altered Context”. I am very thankful to the project’s organisers, for facilitating a forum for visual thinking and a place to make new acquaintances and friends.

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@MrUlster

Book review: Great Thinkers (The School of Life)

Great Thinkers is a compilation of 60 short essays — about 1,500 to 3,000 words each — published by The School of Life, which dedicates itself to “developing emotional intelligence through the help of culture”. It describes the book as a volume of some of the most important ideas of Eastern and Western culture, drawn from the works of philosophers, political theorists, sociologists, artists, and novelists “whom we believe have the most to offer us today”.

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@NorthernSlant Essays Photography

“In my imagination, it was true”: Margins of Excess exhibition talk by Max PINCKERS

“In my imagination, it was true”: Margins of Excess exhibition artist talk by Max PINCKERS
by Allan LEONARD
14 June 2019

As part of the Belfast Photo Festival, Belfast Exposed is hosting an exhibition of Margins of Excess, by Max Pinckers. The artist gave a talk about this project in the gallery, describing how he approached the topic of intersecting news story truths from investigative facts and subjective realities.

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@NorthernSlant Essays Photography

Belfast Exposed exhibition talk: Post Truth: The new normal of the undefined, abstract, and make believe

Belfast Exposed exhibition talk: Post Truth: The new normal of the undefined, abstract, and make believe
by Allan LEONARD
30 May 2019

Belfast Exposed is hosting a group exhibition displaying the work of graduate students of the MFA Photography programme at Ulster University (UU). The theme is “Post Truth”, which aims to explore how we find our truths in a reportedly “post-truth” society, through the medium of photography. As UU Professor Donovan Wylie explained on the information flyer, the works collectively represent collisions of faith, identity, and history, which “take us to a place of post truth, a world where there is a new normal: undefined, abstract, and make believe”.

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@NorthernSlant Essays Photography

Book review: The Colour of Time (Dan JONES & Marina AMARAL)

Book review: The Colour of Time (Dan JONES & Marina AMARAL)
by Allan LEONARD
26 May 2019

Released in hardcover in August 2018 and now available in paperback, The Colour of Time, by historian Dan Jones and artist Marina Amaral, is a collection of 200 colourised photographs taken between 1850 and 1960. With accompanying extended captions, this is a visually rewarding overview of personalities and major moments in world history, from the Crimean War to the space age.

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@NorthernSlant @SharedFuture

Art in Trouble: Expressing Shankill’s story through creative participation

Art in Trouble: Expressing Shankill’s story through creative participation
by Allan LEONARD
28 March 2019

Billed as part of the Imagine! Festival, the Spectrum Centre hosted a European Arts Education Platform session, “Art in Trouble”, on how the people of the Shankill neighbourhood of Belfast have told their stories more recently, through a variety of participatory art. David Boyd (Beat Carnival) welcomed the approximately ten visiting delegations from Europe, and he put tonight’s event in the context of asking how any artistic intervention affects social life and social change.

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@NorthernSlant @SharedFuture

Burn/t Out: Crimes against social cohesion

Burn/t Out: Crimes against social cohesion
by Allan LEONARD
10 April 2019

One of the criticisms of the 1998 Belfast/Good Friday Agreement is that it did not satisfactorily scope out mechanisms for dealing with the legacy of the conflict in Northern Ireland; the focus was forging a consensus on exclusively non-violent means of pursuing politics. One form of violence during the Troubles was the forced displacement of some 45,000-plus people from their homes, whether through physically burning their properties or verbal intimidation. On the 21st anniversary of the Agreement, an art exhibition was launched at ArtCetera Studio. Organised by artist and filmmaker Casey Asprooth-Jackson and academic Brendan Ciarán Browne, Burn/t Out presents narratives and artefacts of Northern Ireland’s internally displaced persons.

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@NorthernSlant Essays Photography

SEVERE: Interview with Martin SEEDS

SEVERE: Interview with Martin SEEDS
by Allan LEONARD
5 November 2018

A new body of work by Belfast-born artist, Martin Seeds, has just been shown as part of the Brighton Photo Fringe. The works are an extension of Seeds’ application of landscape and allegory. Or put another way, our political landscape — literally and figuratively.

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@NorthernSlant @SharedFuture Essays Photography

The Lost Moment exhibition: The provocation of 1968

The Lost Moment exhibition: The provocation of 1968
by Allan LEONARD
27 September 2018

In the year 1968, there were street protests and marches in Belfast, Berlin, Derry-Londonderry, Paris, Prague, Selma and beyond. Some of the most powerful captured images and video clips are on display at The Lost Moment exhibition at the Gallery of Photography Ireland. On the day of its launch there was a two-part symposium on the topic of “Civil Rights: Then and Now”.