Other Reviews

 TALK REVIEW: Brian Friel Lecture
Brian Friel
At Queen’s University, Professor Shaun Richards reveals how Irish playwrights have moved on from the cottage kitchen

Recognised as a leading authority on Irish drama, Professor Shaun Richards has enjoyed a distinguished career as an academic with an international profile. His book Writing Ireland, which was co-authored with David Cairns in 1988, became standard reading for a generation of scholars working in the field of Irish Studies.

In 2004, Richards edited the Cambridge Companion to Irish Drama and his new book,Mapping Ireland: Theories of Space and Place, co-authored with Christopher Morash, is scheduled to be published later this year. Currently working at St Mary’s University College, London, Richards makes the journey to Belfast to deliver the fourth annual Brian Friel Lecture at Queen’s University, which he has entitled Exhausting the Form: The Spectre of Realism in Irish Drama.

Dr Paul Murphy of Queen’s University introduces Richards, recalling his first encounter with his former tutor as a first-year undergraduate student who, along with his peers, was perplexed and dismayed by Beckett’s Waiting for Godot until Richards explained the nature and function of the play. Murphy notes Richards’ excellence as a teacher, and concludes his introduction by describing Richards as ‘one of the finest scholars of Irish drama of his generation’.

TALK REVIEW: Brian Friel Lecture

To read the full review on Culture NI click the link below

Talk Review: Brian Friel Lecture



EP Review: Tales of the Working Class by Pretty Cartel

Pretty Cartel 2

Lisburn-based five piece Pretty Cartel have won themselves a sizeable following in Northern Ireland in recent months, having formed only 14 months ago.

A radio-friendly indie group, they combine the grittiness of The Verve with the strutting accessibility of Oasis, and it’s no surprise that their debut single, ‘The Busker’, was one of the most requested songs on Northern Irish radio in March 2013.

Pretty Cartel have never known what it means to move slow, and the release of their debut EP, Tales of the Working Class, which is currently available from iTunes and other online outlets, should keep them busy in the weeks and months ahead.

To read the full review on Culture NI click the link below

Pretty Cartel EP Review




Gone to Seed – Claire Morgan


The MAC, Belfast

Comprising hundreds of nylon threads, a taxidermy carrion crow and over a thousand thistle seeds, Claire Morgan’s Gone to Seed is breathtaking. Hidden in the Mac’s Sunken Gallery, this stunning installation only takes up an eight foot square of the space but radiates to each of the drab grey concrete walls. The gallery itself has been forgotten about until now, with it’s counterparts, the Upper Gallery and the Tall Gallery stealing the limelight since the MAC’s opening.

Claire Morgan’s career has grown, like her art, organically. Belfast born, Morgan graduated in Art and Design from the University of Ulster. She then moved to the north of England and completed her BA in Fine Art Sculpture at the University of Northumbria, achieving a first class honours degree. Since graduating Morgan has pursued a career solely as a visual artist and in 2004 she was awarded the Royal British Society of Sculptors Annual Bursary and Roy Noakes Awards for Come Fly With Me a work that involved painstakingly repetitive and precise processes.She has continued to explore this way of working, and her diverse range of materials are an integral part of her practice.

First exhibited at the National Centre for Craft and Design in Lincolnshire, Gone to Seed communicates Morgan’s ongoing exploration of the human condition. Citing nature and minimalism, in that order, as her two main influences there is a formalist and mathematical structure to her work. Her intense interest in nature, its fragility and the fleeting character of existence are apparent in this installation. Gone to Seed consists of many hundreds of nylon threads suspended from the ceiling, to which over a thousand thistle seeds are glued to, Morgan creates two perfectly formed spheres which appear broken by the trajectory of a falling crow. Fragile, beautiful, and carefully constructed, Gone to Seed lets the viewer both marvel at the beauty of Morgan’s craftsmanship and explore their own relationship with the materials.

Gone to Seed reveals a state between movement and stillness. It never appears static, yet never moving. The delicate seeds and diaphanous nylon threads gently float in mid-air, evoking this installation’s fragility and further reinforce Morgan’s notion that human beings like everything else in the natural world are fragile.

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