FE McWilliam Gallery & Studio launches standout autumn exhibition

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Susan MacWilliam, "Modern Experiments" at F E McWilliam Gallery: Artist Susan MacWilliam and Curator Riann Coulter ©Edward Byrne Photography

The FE McWilliam Gallery and Studio, Banbridge, has unveiled details of its newest standout exhibition.

Open to the public from September 10th, the largest and most comprehensive exhibition of work by celebrated international artist Susan MacWilliam ever assembled is guaranteed to enthral thousands of visitors with a dramatic series of video installations, sculpture and photography which promises to stretch the imagination and stir the mind.

“Modern Experiments” by Belfast born artist Susan MacWilliam forms a unique and significant body of material which explores concepts not always fully explained through mainstream scientific or psychological study, including paranormal phenomena, mediumship, ectoplasm, x-ray vision and telepathy.

The compelling and thought-provoking exhibition, which will tour an additional three key arts venues across Ireland in 2017, opens at the FE McWilliam Gallery and Studio in Banbridge on Saturday September 10th and runs until 26th November 2016.

Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Garath Keating, said:

“Susan MacWilliam is one of the North’s most exciting home-grown contemporary artistic talents and I’m thrilled that her work can be showcased and experienced at this stunning gallery and studio space. With impressive credentials and international recognition, Susan’s talents can now be enjoyed by everyone and I am sure that visitors from near and far will find much to inspire and reflect upon.”

Artist Susan MacWilliam said:

 “The FE McWilliam Gallery and Studio is a world class venue for arts and culture and I’m both delighted and honoured that for the first time, I can showcase all my key works together in one major exhibition. Using video, photography and installation my work examines vision and perception, and reality and illusion through my explorations of obscure histories and cases of perceptual and paranormal phenomena. I hope it will be enjoyed by many.”

A specialised programme focusing on those living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia will accompany the exhibition at each venue – several of the subjects of MacWilliam’s videos have been aged in their 80s and 90s and the narrative quality of many of her works, together with the historic subject matter, provides rich ground for specialist sessions with local Alzheimer café groups and more general tours for older people led by staff at each gallery.

Born in Belfast and based between Belfast and Dublin, where she lectures at the National College of Art and Design, MacWilliam has exhibited nationally and internationally with solo shows in New York, Dublin, London, Victoria, B.C. Northampton and Derby.

Dr Riann Coulter, curator and manager of the FE McWilliam Gallery and Studio, said:

This exciting project demonstrates once more our commitment to making the very best, works of art and culture fully accessible for residents and visitors alike and we are delighted to be working so closely with Susan to deliver what promises to be an outstanding and memorable visitor experience.”

Susan’s work has been shortlisted for the IMMA Glen Dimplex Artists Award and in 2009 she represented Northern Ireland at the 53rd Venice Biennale. In 2013, she was awarded a Derry-Londonderry City of Culture Commission. While MacWilliam has exhibited in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland previously, this survey exhibition will be the first opportunity for audiences throughout Ireland to see her key works together in one exhibition.

This engaging exhibition is supported by a major touring grant awarded through a joint initiative by the Arts Council of Ireland/An Chomahirle Ealaíon and Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

The exhibition will travel throughout 2017 to the Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda; Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre, Skibbereen and The Butler Gallery, Kilkenny.

Fostering cross-border collaboration and building on existing links between the F.E. McWilliam Gallery and Studio and institutions throughout Ireland, this tour offers a unique opportunity for audiences to experience a survey exhibition of one of our most significant artists.

A major publication providing an overview of MacWilliam’s practice and including essays by leading scholars will accompany the exhibition.

Opened in 2008 to celebrate the works of Banbridge-born surrealist sculptor Frederick Edward McWilliam and his international success, the stunning gallery and studio in Banbridge is one of Northern Ireland’s leading artistic and fastest-growing visitor attractions.

Funded by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, the unique facility, which features a stunning sculpture garden and acclaimed café and restaurant, Quails, celebrates its eighth birthday this month,

For further information on the FE McWilliam Gallery and Studio, and the exhibition and opening times, visit the website at www.femcwilliam.com, or phone 028 4062 3322 (or 048 4062 3322 if calling from the Republic of Ireland). Gallery information is also available on Facebook and Twitter.