1 March to 21 March 2018
Absence is the connecting quality of two otherwise very different artists, Victoria J Dean and Sharon Murphy. With a background in theatre, Murphy’s photographs have the aura of a stage set, with the landscape in some ways acting as a curtain, covering up the story behind. While some works feature children, they are never the focus of the work, rather they highlight that something is missing. The rugged seascapes and dense forests take centre stage, only emphasising the ethereal presence of the child.
Victoria Dean’s photographs are notable for their lack of people, yet they are not simple landscapes or seascapes, the structures are key. It is hard to tell exactly what the structures are, indeed some of them appear so unlikely given their locale that they appear more like an illusion than fact. Their unlikeliness presents more questions than answers. Are the structures superimposed into the photograph? What is their purpose? Where are they? Dean deliberately does not give us the answers to any of those questions. Her fascination with how humans interpret what they see, how they organise, what they build and how it all contributes to society remains unanswered.
There is something sinister in the works of these two photographers, a feeling that danger is present even though there is no evidence that it will occur. What is there and what is not is not so easy to decipher, allowing for multiple interpretations and stories to be seen.
There and Not There | Victoria J Dean & Sharon Murphy at Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast