What's On | Exhibitions

Susan MacWilliam: Modern Experiments

Saturday, 18th February 2017 - Saturday, 8th April 2017

Highlanes Gallery is delighted to announce its upcoming exhibition Susan MacWilliam: Modern Experiments. This exhibition, touring from Highlanes Gallery’s cross-border partner, the F.E. McWilliam Gallery and Studio in Banbridge is the largest and most comprehensive exhibition of Susan MacWilliam’s work to date.

The exhibition launch will take place Saturday 18 February from 2.00pm – 5.00pm at Highlanes Gallery, with an in conversation at 2.30pm between the artist, Susan MacWilliam, and artist and filmmaker Mairéad McClean.

Modern Experiments presents key pieces from the artist’s career with a focus on works created from 1998 onward when the artist started working with video. Since then, MacWilliam’s work has investigated obscure and overlooked histories, and cases of perceptual and paranormal phenomena. Using anecdote, reconstruction, forms of portraiture, and detailed editing, she has made work about mediumship, ectoplasm, x-ray vision, telepathy, table tilting, clairvoyance, and dermo-optical perception.

The work presented in Modern Experiments forms a unique and significant body of material exploring peripheral subjects, and those that are beyond mainstream scientific and psychological study. Consisting of twenty-eight of Susan MacWilliam’s works, the exhibition features fourteen videos and video installations including The Last Person, 1998 (Shortlisted for IMMA Glen Dimplex Artists Award 1999), Dermo Optics, 2006 (exhibited at 2009 Venice Biennale) and KATHLEEN, 2014 (Derry-Londonderry City of Culture Commission), alongside other aspects of her diverse practice, including photographic works, stereoscopes, neon and sculptural works such as Book Spheres, 2014.

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

MacWilliam has worked with prominent parapsychologists and psychical research institutions, including poltergeist investigator William G. Roll, the New York family of Irish born medium Eileen Garrett and the Dermo Optical Perception Laboratory of Madame Yvonne Duplessis, Paris. She has worked extensively with historical archives including those of the Parapsychology Foundation, New York; Hamilton Family fonds (spirit photograph archive), University of Manitoba; Parapsychology Laboratory Records, Duke University; and Rhine Research Center, Durham, NC.

While MacWilliam has exhibited in both Northern Ireland and the Republic, this exhibition will be the first opportunity for audiences throughout Ireland to see her key works together, and to gain an overview of her practice.

Initiated and curated by Riann Coulter, Curator of the F.E. McWilliam Gallery & Studio, this exhibition is supported through the North South Touring and Dissemination scheme, a joint initiative by the Arts Council of Ireland/An Chomhairle Ealaíon and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, and will tour throughout 2017.

Following its showing at Highlanes Gallery, the exhibition will travel to 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 institutions throughout Ireland, this tour offers a unique opportunity for audiences to experience a survey exhibition of one of Ireland’s most significant artists.

Listings Information:
Exhibition: Susan MacWilliam: Modern Experiments
Venue: Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda
Dates: 18 February – 8 April, 2017
Exhibition Opening: 2.00pm -5.00pm Saturday 18 February. In Conversation with Susan MacWilliam and artist and filmmaker Mairéad McClean at 2.30pm.