Fields of Vision to go on display next month

We have a chat with curator and exhibitor Stephen Shaw

Artwork by Stephen Shaw

2017 will see the new year brought in with an exhibition showcasing a host of local artists and photographers.

‘Fields of Vision’ which is a visual collaboration that developed through the Facebook group Derry Creatives, will be on display at the Garden of Reflection Gallery from Tuesday 3rd to Monday 30th January and is free to attend.

Derry Creatives is an un-funded, open-source, collaborative group that brings the creative folk of Derry together to showcase their talents to the world and has been through under the NI2030, Europe's Creative Capital strategy. The group have already been responsible for a highly successful Fun Palaces event in October, and more recently Music Capital NI Battle of the Bands competition which was held in Bennigans Bar at the end of November.

‘Fields of Vision’ Curator and exhibiting artist Stephen Shaw told me how the concept originated: “The idea of a group exhibition kind of just happened all of a sudden one day while chatting to some local artists that I met through the Derry Creatives group. I had been painting for a number of years on and off but only started to take it seriously last year so my initial idea was a solo exhibition. I called a few places in September in the town and Blane at the Garden of Reflection gallery offered me the gallery to use in January next year.

So what started as a solo exhibition quickly gained momentum to become large group exhibition “I decided to get a few other artists on board but in the beginning I was thinking maybe one or two, just as a collaboration” Stephen said.

“I put a call out on the Derry Creatives Facebook page, not knowing if I would get any takers, but in fact it attracted a lot of interest from a range of a whole range of local talent. At one point I was thinking maybe we need a bigger gallery because this is getting serious! I am delighted that we have arrange of talent on display painters, sculptors, photographers, music and dance.”

In total, twenty-four artists and photographers will be featured within the show, consisting of: Stephen Shaw, Harry McMahon, John Deery, Aislinn Cassidy, Raymond Cassidy, Peter Beagan, Bernadette Hopkins, Bernard McAnaney, Lolita Cooke, Caoimhe Moyne, Nadine Hegarty, Paul W. Chapman, Patricia Spokes, Deirdre Doherty, Olga Weston, Alan Patterson, Tony Carlin, Cathal Donnelly, Gav Connolly, Lawrence Cooke, Lisa Kelly, Kevin Harkin, Jacqueline McKay, Kevin Copeland.

Many of the works on display are pieces which are inspired by or explore the rural and urban landscapes of Derry and the North-West. Other pieces include portraits, sculpture and audio visual displays, all of which are consistent with a local theme throughout.

“Fields of Visions’ is a reference to Seamus Heaney’s ‘Field of Vision’ which I felt  worked well especially in an artistic visual sense as each artist interprets what they see differently” Stephen told me when I asked about the exhibition title.

“There is definitely a need for more exhibition and opportunities to showcase local work and I hope ‘Fields of Vision’ doesn’t become just a one off as I would like to do it again if it is a success on a regular basis. I mean why not? if an unknown artist with no exhibition experience like myself can bring together such a large group of artist and photographers imagine what some serious organisation could really do for the arts scene in Derry.”

Stephen went on to tell me his own influences, and what we can expect to see in the exhibition: “Most of my work is an exploration of places I know well from the surrounding landscapes, city streets of Derry and Dublin or the coastal areas of Inishowen and beyond. I grew up in the Prehen area of Derry which has the advantage of being both close to the city to the countryside, with forests, fields, rivers, streams and the city centre all within walking distance.

“These experiences helped garner my interest and exploration of both rural and urban landscapes and. I learned the basics of painting in school and also during my Foundation Art Year course, but you could say that I am predominantly a self-taught artist. I studied visual communication in Belfast and have worked for several years as a graphic designer in Dublin where I currently reside and I enjoy juggling a professional career in graphic design with painting most evenings and weekends.”

You can check out Stephen’s work at www.stephenshawart.com, and Fields of Vision will run from Tuesday 3rd to Monday 30th January at the Garden of Reflection Gallery. The artists will be present at the opening reception on Saturday 7th January from 6pm and everyone is welcome to attend.

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