New Exits

Isabella Evangelisti visits the MAC in Belfast, where the work of selected painting graduates from Belfast School of Art is on show

New Exits artists at the MAC. Photo Chad Alexander. Front row (L to R): Aimee Melaugh, Yasmine Robinson, Daniel Coleman, Juste Bernotaite Back row (L to R): Patrick Hickey, Kwok Tsui, Cameron Stewart, Hannah Casey-Brogan, Jane Rainey, Megan Burns, Tim Millen


Ten years after the MAC first opened its doors, this new exhibition celebrates its ongoing relationship with the Belfast School of Art by showcasing the work of eleven of the graduates from the Fine Art Department’s BA and MFA courses over those years, who have gone on to build successful careers as visual artists. The exhibition has been curated by Dougal McKenzie, Course Director of the BA Fine Art programme at the Belfast School of Art, and Hugh Mulholland, Creative Director, Visual Arts at the MAC.

The exhibition galleries in the MAC are arranged over three floors, allowing the viewer to wander through interlocking architectural spaces. Occasional large windows offer views of the city that has nurtured this stable of young talent. The building, in its delightful complexity, is the very antithesis of the white cube gallery space. It is intricately linked to the city around it, whose areas of beauty vie with patches of urban decay. Within these spaces the works are juxtaposed in inventive ways. In one room the tiny landscape details of Hannah Casey-Brogan line up like stepping stones leading to the huge work by Daniel Coleman entitled The House Down the Lane. This compels the viewer to look very closely, before taking a step back in order to adjust to the difference in scale. Tim Millen’s family-tree paintings, with their closely entwined figural groups, are paired with his thickly painted root-like canvases, serving as a reiteration of a similar concept in figural and abstract forms.

To read this article in full, subscribe or buy this edition of the Irish Arts Review