Recipients of the CCA Graduate Award
2021 sees CCA presenting two awards to graduating students from the University of Ulster's Belfast School of Art. The students will receive a mentoring session with CCA's Director Catherine Hemelryk and an exhibition in the Project Space in 2021. CCA is delighted to announce that the winners are Susan Hughes (MFA) and DreamBean (BA). They were selected from a strong list of applicants from MFA and BA students who'll be graduating this summer. You can visit their degree shows and see the work from all of the graduating students at the Belfast School of Art website. CCA's Project Space is visible through the windows on Artillery Street and dates of the exhibitions will be announced later in the year.
The experiences which form the content of my work are complex and multi dimensional. I and my subjects describe deeply personal physical and physiological sensations while being inside our bodies, inside intense encounters with nature.
I use language as a malleable conceptual and visual material creating space for alternative narratives to be invented. Crisp text, electrical light/digital video, and bright perspex are effective in their artifice as tools to explore and express natural, yet often psychedelic, sensual experiences.
Through a process of interviewing, writing, transcribing, crafting and analysis I have been abstracting and retelling stories. Outcomes have been in the form of video and installation.
Evidenced by the upsurge during lockdown of the popularity of sea swimming and gardening, it’s catching on: this thing of grabbing onto rocks, being held tightly by cold water, plunging a hand deep into earth, lingering there for a bit too long, indulging in this touch. Surely I’m not the only person who sneakily licks salt residue off my own arm?
My art explores the connection of the internal and external landscape through a queer gaze, questioning, ‘what does it mean to be a creative adult?’. Making art that is anti-realism, pseudo-naive, I aim to create art that is ironically confessional around topics that I ‘wasn’t allowed to talk about’ growing up in rural catholic Ireland. I approach art perceiving it as both spiritual and therapeutic, allowing the viewer to enter into an ethereal world that explores childhood memories, trauma, nostalgia and identity. The portrait of an anxious queer self, manifests in my art through layering seen in the use of repetition, mixed matched textures and chaotic patterns and colour. In my art, I blur the boundaries between painting, sculpture/lens and printmaking in order to create a playful practice that is multi-disciplinary.
I enjoy playing with camp bright colours, political satire and punchy word play, to create a facade for darker themes to be explored. I identify with maximalism, DIY and all things queer. I see nature as a (queer) powerful, non judgemental force, thus making it the ultimate source for healing, self acceptance and an energy that can be embodied; therefore nature will always be present in my work. Taking ownership and reclaiming is an important aspect when creating. I see art as a tool to heal, explore and adopt different identities allowing for fluid self expression. Using the name ‘DreamBean’, allows me to indulge my fantasies and bring my dreams and desires into physicality. ‘Queering’ allows me to deconstruct social mores and overcome oppression by embracing queer coding and identity politics in my work. Therefore, I (DreamBean) approach queering in my art, as method allowing for a universal understanding around influx identities and encourages the viewer to embrace individuality and keep dreaming.