Belfast Telegraph

Friday 21 November 2014

Seawright's images need no words . . .

Investigating the margins of humanity in pictures

Belfast-born photographer Paul Seawright features until December 16 at the Naughton Gallery at Queen's University.

Seawright first gained attention in 1988 with his series Sectarian Murder - a pairing of photographs of murder sites and newspaper reports from the period. Since then he has gained international acclaim for his investigative photography which focuses on what he calls a "generic malevolent landscape".

This show, entitled Invisible Cities, is his most recent body of work and again highlights his fascination with city margins, marginalised peoples and the human condition. The photographs, mainly from urban Africa, " explore the reality of the rapid, organic growth on the periphery" of cities like Lusaka, Addis Ababa and Lagos.

As images, they stand alone without any linking narrative and simple, non-emotive titles. They speak entirely for themselves through simple, flawless compositions, wonderful light and the fascination of a captured moment in time.

Seawright has devoted his career to drawing our attention to the plight of others and has achieved considerable success, with awards which include the prestigious Ville de Paris artist award in 1999 and the Glen Dimplex Prize from the Irish Museum of Modern Art in 1997. In the New Year he will take up the post of Professor of Photography at the University of Ulster.

A show that will run right over Christmas is Fiona Larkin's at the Old Museum Arts Centre. Entitled Proving The Existence of Black Holes in Everyday Life, it, and I quote, "explores the angst of urban living, the fear of isolation and isolation as a product of the fear of others." Quite a mouthful but a serious subject all the same.

Larkin often begins her train of expression with drawings but the final product is always video- based, although frequently projects result in what could be referred to as 'media hybrids'.

She often uses interventions by the general public and considers subjects like gated developments and apartment living. The exhibition will run until January 6.

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