Joyless Celebration + Purposeless Inquiry Void Art School at Void Gallery

Joyless Celebration + Purposeless Inquiry

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This Void Art School exhibition Joyless Celebration and Purposeless Inquiry was an eclectic mix of media from a group of nine artists from across the spectrum of levels of art education; from GCSE to graduate level. The exhibition takes its title from the reversal of the themes of Derry’s year as UK City of Culture (2013).


Much of the promise and cultural infrastructure of 2013 has since been retracted – the gallery which hosted the Turner Prize has now gone. The ‘new story to tell’ resounds with much the same narrative as the old one.


Gareth Sweeney

A GCSE student at St Columbs College whose dark collages reference photomontage of Adrian Ghenie and the later Photoshop paintings of Richard Hamilton.

See more of Gareth’s work here


Vincent Fahy

A  foundation student at NWRC going onto study Photography at Belfast. Three images taken during a recent London trip are exceptional pieces of street photography paired with the drama of Caravaggio.

For more information please visit his website


Zoe Harkin

A student at NWRC and takes a more experimental approach to the photographic image, using repeated images to mimic extended moments of time, in One Second (kiss) as well as essentially beautiful portraits in details.


Sarah Hampstead

A GCSE year student; her combination of paintings and photographs make for essentially small abject narratives and take face painting into the realm of menace.

See more of her work here 


Joe Carlin

Has an established interest in the aesthetics of fabric and fashion. Pillars draws on Classical use of folds in fabric in the sculptures of Greece and Rome to the Appiani family tomb used on the cover of Joy Divisions album Closer.

Religiosity extends to the arcane nails driven into the wall, marking the peaks and troughs of a cardiac rhythm trace taken on the Christian holy day- Good Friday.

“If you could see what I have seen with your eyes”

See more about him here


Don Brown

An HND student at NWRC, his two paintings are a small part of his output at Void Art School over the last year. They are crafted appropriations of Warhol and a deliberate approximation to the infamous Myra painting by Marcus Harvey. Their title is taken from the noir classic of subjective doubt ‘BladeRunner’.


Darran McGlynn

A Fine Art graduate who’s recent show ‘Sees The Day” in Void’s community space is echoed in his sculpture- Castles Made of Sand. The piece neatly ties in with his re-photographs of 70’s images of packed holiday beaches.

The brick effect moulded sand castles ironically mimic Carl Andre minimalist sculptures of the late sixties and early seventies. As the title quotes Jimmy Hendrix lyrics of the same period in his song of universal disappointment Castles made of Sand.

See his website here


Shauneen Colhoun

An HND student at NWRC in her final year. Her two film pieces Five Shillings and Puppy Dog Tails take time  and location as subjects.

The inside outside of Puppy Dog tails reflects the narcissistic character of types of Art world institutional critiques. Five Shillings is a reflection on different characteristics of time  and temporality.

See more here


Matthew McCartney

A Void placement as a part of degree in UK. His billboard size photograph Window Dresser is a part of his work that has cast a critical eye on the Art and Culture in Derry 2013.

The piece captures one of the window dressing elements of short term urban regeneration namely fake windows and shop fronts that masks the economic vacancy and dereliction in the heart of the former UK  C.o.C.


Download the Press Release below:

Joyless Celebration and Purposeless Inquiry Press Release


Void Art School

The education project Void Art School was delivered by the artist Damien Duffy from 2006 – 2015. Modelled on third level education it provided a studio based learning in contemporary art. The project assisted students/artists at all levels of the learning path from A level to foundation course, graduates and post-graduates.

Void Art School was held as a model of best practise by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and it is unique as a Gallery Education Programme.

It worked with CCEA and DCAL in an advisory role on Education and contemporary art.

Void Art School Booklet 2005 – 2013




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