From February 18th through April 8th, 2017: “Susan MacWilliam: Modern Experiments”
Highlanes Gallery is hosting the exhibition Susan MacWilliam: Modern Experiments. This exhibition, touring from Highlanes Gallery’s cross-border partner, the F. E. McWilliam Gallery and Studio in Banbridge is the largest and most comprehensive exhibition of Susan MacWilliam’s work to date. The exhibition launch took place Saturday February 18th from 2.00pm – 5.00pm with a discussion at 2.30pm between the artist Susan MacWilliam, and artist and filmmaker Mairéad McClean.
Modern Experiments presents key pieces from the artist’s career with a focus on works created from 1998 onward when the artist started working with video. Since then MacWilliam’s work has investigated obscure and overlooked histories, and cases of perceptual and paranormal phenomena. Using anecdote, reconstruction, forms of portraiture, and detailed editing, she has made work about mediumship, ectoplasm, x-ray vision, telepathy, table tilting, clairvoyance, and dermo-optical perception.
The work presented in Modern Experiments forms a unique and significant body of material exploring peripheral subjects, and those that are beyond mainstream scientific and psychological study. Consisting of twenty-eight of Susan MacWilliam’s works, the exhibition features fourteen videos and video installations including The Last Person, 1998 (Shortlisted for IMMA Glen Dimplex Artists Award 1999), Dermo Optics, 2006 (exhibited at 2009 Venice Biennale) and KATHLEEN, 2014 (Derry-Londonderry City of Culture Commission), alongside other aspects of her diverse practice, including photographic works, stereoscopes, neon and sculptural works such as Book Spheres, 2014.
Born in Belfast and based between Belfast and Dublin, where she teaches at the National College of Art and Design, Susan MacWilliam has exhibited nationally and internationally with solo shows in New York, Dublin, London, Victoria B.C., Northampton and Derby. MacWilliam has worked with prominent parapsychologists and psychical research institutions, including poltergeist investigator William G. Roll, the New York family of Irish-born medium Eileen J. Garrett and the Dermo-Optical Perception Laboratory of Madame Yvonne Duplessis, Paris. She has worked extensively with historical archives including those of the Parapsychology Foundation, New York; Hamilton Family foundation (a spirit photograph archive) at the University of Manitoba; Parapsychology Laboratory Records, Duke University; and Rhine Research Center, Durham, NC.
Initiated and curated by Riann Coulter, Curator of the F. E. McWilliam Gallery and Studio, this exhibition is supported through the North South Touring and Dissemination scheme, a joint initiative by the Arts Council of Ireland/An Chomhairle Ealaíon and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, and will tour throughout 2017. Following its showing in Highlanes Gallery, it will travel to Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre, Skibbereen and The Butler Gallery, Kilkenny.