The first recipient of the new year is Belfast based artist Kelly Ewing, whose paintings navigate themes of abjection
and the monstrous feminine. Through a practice which incorporates painting as a performative act , Ewing investigates the archetype of the ‘monstrous woman’ or ‘femme castratrice’.
The spray paint on the floor is kind of interesting, would you call these paintings site specific ?
Cool question, one that I don’t really get asked too often… On one hand, I
would say I do consider them to be site specific as the paintings are (in my
mind) a product of their immediate environment. I like to continue accidental
marks I find on the studio walls or floors onto the surface of the work, allowing
them to sort of become a by-product of this accidental and purposeful mark
making from previous work. Sometimes I enjoy deliberately continuing pools
of colour from the beds onto the ground too, which is completely individual to
the environment I make the work in. However, I’m not against creating these
same marks when installing work in gallery spaces- I don’t do this too often
though cos it does feel forced and inauthentic in certain spaces, I think it
depends on the actual work itself and the energy I feel from it and whether it
needs to be situated this obviously.
I Haven’t heard to much about the Belfast art scene, is anyone else working there who you think people should check out? Could be one of your peers or someone more established.
The art scene here in Belfast is dynamic and exciting, there’s a really big
emphasis on sculpture and performance, and some really cool contemporary
painters. I’ll be cheeky and give you two recommendations: the first one is an
established painter & a lecturer on my BA; Chris Hanlon. Find his work on
www.christopherhanlonartist.com and on instagram at @chrishanlonpainting
His paintings are cinematic and atmospheric. Secondly, I’ll recommend you
check out my peer and fellow recent graduate Phil Keers. His practice is
based around sculpture installation and performance dealing with gender,
sexuality and language, he’s on instagram at @philkeers and
Inside,2018.Spray,paint,household emulsion,acrylic paint, oil pastel charcoal,sequin attached letters and attached fur.-151cm-x-182cm.jpg
Curious if there are any older artists from the UK or Ireland who you think are kind of underrated? Like someone whose work you appreciate but who doesn’t come up much. Or the same question for rest of the world. Just someone you’d think is deserving of a critical renascence.
He isn’t an ‘older artist’ in the sense I would usually think of, but I am really
excited by John Walters work. I first discovered him when his exhibition
‘Shonky: The Aesthetics of Awkwardness’ opened in The MAC in Belfast in
2018, at the beginning of my final year. It was the first time I could see the
kind of work I felt I properly understood and related to in my own country, as
usually big touring shows here can be quite conservative and * dry *. So yeah,
I’m a huge fan of John Walters and I feel like we are only really at the tip of
the iceberg! I don’t think he comes up in discourse an awful lot even though
his work is so important and controversial. His show ‘Alien Sex Club’ in the
Wellcome Collection in London was MAD. I’m excited!!!
What have you been reading lately?
I am always into anything regarding the monstrous feminine and the abject! I
enjoy Freud’s theory of the Oedipus complex although it can be a bit
problematic. Recently I’m re-reading Julia Kristeva’s ‘Powers of Horror’ and
for fun I’m re-reading William Blattys ‘The Exorcist’.
How about something dumb that you’ve been into lately, like an action movie or something, could you tell us about some guilty pleasure?
LOL, I’ve always been really into conspiracy theories and true crime podcasts
so I’ve seen and watched most of the worthwhile ones (in my humble opinion)
so at the minute I’m listening to a true crime/conspiracy theory/generally weird
things podcast on Spotify called ‘Those Conspiracy Guys’, basically an irish
guy and guests talking about some spooky things. Five stars!
Last question, Van Morrison or Gary Moore?
GARY MOORE cos Thin Lizzy.
interviewed by Benjamin Duax, Feb 6th, 2019.