News and Reviews
Not having the discipline and stamina to maintain a blog, here are a few items of news and reviews of different events and occasions happening in the real world, online and in publications.
After five years of active participation as member and secretary of Pollen Studios and Gallery it is time to pass the baton to a new committee. As I look forward to moving into a new studio space, currently under construction, I am stepping back from full membership of Pollen, and all the responsibilities that entails, to become an associate member. Joining Pollen after graduating in 2017 enabled me to grow and develop as an artist with a support network of amazing people. I am happy to still be involved with the organisation, but relieved to take a back seat as I prepare for my year 3 MFA assessment and look forward to my final Master of Fine Art year at the Belfast School of Art in September 2022.
Bbeyond Poster Girls
From the 14th until the end of February Bbeyond have posters promoting performance art displayed in two locations in Belfast. I am delighted to be included in the image on the Ormeau Road billboard. The photograph is from the Equinox Performance event in September 2016.
It started to rain very heavily at the end of the performance and we clustered, but there had been no prearranged decision to bring umbrellas to the event. Bbeyond Performance Monthlies are free open events for anyone who wants to join in. Performance art could be thought of as living sculpture. Artists from L-R Zara Lyness, Sinéad O Donnell, Siobhán Mullen, Karine Talec. Photography by Jordan Hutchings.
Galerie Kopplemann; Kuntswerk Nippes
This was part of an exhibition/ performance project by Galerie Kopplemann; Kuntswerk Nippes. ( www.corona-feeling.de) titled Self Reflection : Corona Feeling.
Bbeyond artists were invited to take part in this online collaborative performance. Along with other artists from Northern Ireland, Germany, Spain, England and Poland, we made a collaborative performance screened in Galerie Kopplemann. The live recording is available to view on https://fb.watch/8KezIr7fPx/
Thanks to James King for the image and extending the invitation.
The duration of the performance was 1hr
The Amabie Project
Thanks to Joahnna Leech for inviting me to exhibit work for this exhibition. The exhibition will show Amabie (アマビエ) inspired artworks by 33 Irish and Japanese artists.
Amabie (アマビエ) is a legendary Japanese mermaid or merman with three legs and long hair, who emerges from the sea and prophesies either an abundant harvest or an epidemic. Amabie is a kind of monster or spirit known as yokai*. People around the world were embracing this somewhat obscure character in 2019 - 2020. Japanese have traditionally created yokai through a cathartic process of bringing fears and hopes out of the subconscious.
February has turning into a busy month. Alongside occasional visits to the Ulster University Belfast campus for MFA related work, behind the screens there is lots of work going on to prepare for the 2021 Belfast International Festival of Performance Art. Starting to get the interest ramped up through drip feeding archive videos through social media as well as setting a new Instagram account for the Festival @bifpa_performance. Sharing lots of images of work by invited, current and graduate artists. https://www.facebook.com/BIFPA-21-Belfast-International-Festival-of-Performance-Art-1405359069774911
Over the Covid 19 lockdown period I took the opportunity to create an online shop. All the items are one off, original pieces, hand made and developed from a variety of projects. This a new experience and will be adding to the stock over time.
I also have decorative porclain wall plaques for sale on www.giftshopforfarmers.com. There are two different syles, The Old School House Range and Farm House Range.
Items also available on Etsy in ZaraLynessStudio
Personalised tiles are available, please get in touch with me to discuss designs.
MFA Instagram takeover
I took part in the Belfast School of Art Master's of Fine Art instagram takeover. Collaborating with Andy Athansiou, a 2nd year student from Greece, we exchanged images and ideas online during the Covid 19 lock down period to create a body of work.
Holding Love and Light
Holding, Catching Love and Light was a commissioned solo performance made for the book launch for Holding Love and Light by Bronagh Lawson. The event was held in the Irish Architectural Archive in Dublin. Including performance art during the launch proved to make it an unusual experience for those attending and resulted in several interesting conversations during the evening.
Home School Art
A riot of noise a colour, in November 2019 R-space hosted a series of workshops for children schooled at home. The workshops involved the children responding to the exhibition running in the space, Figures in a Landscape, selected works from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland collection. While toddlers drew and played with airdry clay the older children worked in collage and stoneware clay.
Voicing the Bridge
For an event marking the anniversary of the Irish border Bbeyond were invited to Claudy to take part in an event titled Voicing the Bridge, an international arts and film making project with Jan Erik Andersson. Traces of where we have been.
Féile An Phobail
Upper Springfield Development Trust community project Selfie Swap. Participants from Springvale College and the Fallswater Day Centre made a series of mixed media work that was included in the Féile An Earraigh Visual Arts Exhibition held in St Mary's University College. Project artists Tonya McMullan and Zara Lyness
This was an exciting event that included participating in a workshop run by Linda Montano and then making documenting the performance event that took place all over the Ulster Museum. I engaged with Linda during her 'Being Bob' performance and have our conversation recorded. During the workshop she said I was the best boss with the bell.
Murmuration - Pollen Studios and Gallery
A live sound performance. Seven starlings are being watched by seven starlings each, this is Murmuration. Listen and follow, watch and followand let the sound tell you how to fly.
Piece of Paper Press
I was pleased to find a mention of my performance reading of Tony White's 'The Holburn Cenotaph' mentioned on his blog. I was even more surprised to receive a signed copy of his book shortly afterwards.
A Mean Gang of Hedgehogs
One of the rooms in the Dunadry Hotel was turned into a studio for the afternoon as the staff from the University of Atypical get their hands dirty and crafted very unique and personal ceramic hedgehogs. This was the first ceramic workshop I have facilitated since restrictions ended and it couldn't have been with a better group of participants. Some of the group have an artistic background and some do not, bet everyone did an outstanding job and there were no major kiln casualties. If you are interested in arranging a creative staff workshop, please get in contact.
Still here just not there - Pollen Studios and Gallery
Pollen Studios and Gallery celebrate their 10th Anniversary this year and held an exhibition, inviting past and present members to show work in the new gallery in 7 North Street, Belfast.
I joined Pollen straight out of college in 2017 and have been involved in most of the events and exhibitions that have been hosted since. It was lovely to meet up with past members, many of whom I know through college and other projects, and exhibit with them knowing our shared history. We even have a Turner Prize winner in our midst with work by Sinéad Breathnach Cashell, who shared the space beside me and whose trees I navigated around for the longest time in our cramped quarters. My selected objects were parian porcelain and white earthenware sculpted paper and linen.
Bounce Festival - University of Atypical
Along with Marta Dyczkowska, I was delighted to be invited to work with Sinead O'Donnell on new work funded by the University of Atypical. Sinead wanted to work with female performance artists with documentation experience. The dual-screen video work by artist Sinéad O’Donnell was developed from research exploring public space and its relationship to feminine empowerment - an ongoing concept that informs her work. My collaboration with Sinead involved experimental work in Warrenpoint, Co Down. Screening will take place at CCA, Derry during the Bounce Festival.
Sinead will be performing in Belfast and Derry basing the work on the collaborations.
Image Credit: Sinéad O'Donnell, Trigger, video still, videographer: Zara Lyness, 2021. Image courtesy of the artist. For more information visit: sineadodonnell.com
Delighted to be selected for the open call Materials Messages and Meaning #9 exhibition in R-Space Gallery in Lisburn. Exhibiting alongside Rita Duffy, Patrick Colhoun, Susan Hughes, Niamh Clarke and Hannah Shaw Magill, each artist produced work on the selected theme 'Remember'. The exhibition was the first time the gallery has opened the doors to the public in 2021. R-Space Gallery at the Linen Rooms, Lisburn is a registered charity and receives funding from ACNI. The MMM#9 exhibition is part of the funded programming.
In this exhibition I show Doll's House, with new additions to the treasured collection as well as part of my footsteps series.
R Space’s collaborates with a diverse range of excellent and challenging artists and designers working in different media, providing audiences from a wide range of educational, social and cultural backgrounds with different points of access to the arts.
#Right to Create
In Conversation with Deirdre McKenna, University of Atypical and Zara Lyness, 28th Jan 2021.
The work created during the Tangible Selves workshop project has been included in the #Righttocreate exhibition hosted by PS2, Belfast. After working with the Moon Base group during the project it was a pleasure to be invited to take part in one of the online panel conversations. The gallery has hosted a series of talks and interactive events, including a popular and interactive drawing workshop with Alastair MacLennan.. Right to Create, a campaign for assisted studio space, is curated by Bronagh Lawson and Ngaire Jackson.
During the Bbeyond Symposium in Apr 2017 Chumpon Apisuk suggested holding a performance Day of Freedom every year. Since then, across the world, performance artists have gathered on the Summer and Winter equinox days to honour this suggestion. We were very lucky to be able to hold this performance at the side of the River Lagan between two lockdowns. It was a very strange experience working as a group while social distancing.
Homework at PS2
Many artists during the Covid 19 lock down period had restricted or no access to studios, facing a shift in practice and process. Working from home has pros and cons, and old chairs find themselves under more pressure than usual. My old university studio chair had to undergo some vital repairs and was included on Instagram posts during lock down. I appreciated the invitation from PS2 Gallery to take part in their online Home Work Project, sharing the wide range of work we were making in these very unusual times.
Art Mutation Online
Starting from one image by one artist, this campaign has gone global through personal invitations from one artist to another. Referencing the image that is received, each artist creates a new piece of work and shares it with another who then creates another mutation. 'Uncertain Landscape' was inspired by the work of Elaine McGinn, the irish artist that invited me to join in. Art work is regularly added to the web page. All the work can be viwed in an online gallery at http://art-mutation.online/
Expanded Studio Project
Between April and September 2019 I took part in the Expanded Studio Project involving 6 studios from Belfast and Primary Studios, Nottingham. The project ran exhibitions of the work produced at PS2 Gallery, Belfast and Primary Studios, Nottingham.
Ulster Star Interview
I ran a beginner ceramics workshop in R-Space Gallery, Lisburn in March 2019 and it was lovely to have local journalist Julie Ann Spence there with her mum. I get participants to make their own pieces from scratch so they really feel their work is their own. A couple of weeks after the workshop Julie wrote a review for the Ulster Star
Bbeyond were filmed by a German TV company for the August monthly in Lombard Street, Belfast. A busy day with a lot of traffic.
After arriving a little late for the Feb monthly I almost didn't take part. After watching everyone for about 10 mins I joined in the actions and had beautiful encounters with Sinéad Bhreathnach Cashell. One of the images taken by Jordan Hutching waas then used for PR posters for the Boondocks 3 Festival held in Hanover later that year. My poster girl moment.
Bbeyond Monthly held in the Waterworks Park in Belfast. This was the first drawing performance work I made, During the performance I engaged with many of the children in the park who were very curious about what the group was doing.
Performance Art & Northern Ireland
Performance Art & Northern Ireland
The Golden Thread Gallery
Artists attending the event in the Golden Thread agreed to hold another group performance a few weeks after the Bbeyond Monthly in August. Many of the speakers took part along with a few students from the Belfast School of Art
Belfast International Festival of Performance Art
As a first year fine art student I took part in the Helge Meyer performace art workshop. My first real experience of performance art had a huge influence on my practice and Helge was a great artist to start the process. I will always be grateful to him.
Usually I work in R-Space Gallery on a Saturday but I was so pleased to be able to get to Belfast for the Global Spring Equinox Performance event on 26th March. It was a beautiful day and we had lots of interested onlookers during the event. The Bbeyond performance monthlies are a great opportunity to test out ideas with a group in public. I was also lucky enough to get caught on camera by Sinéad O Donnell as she worked performatively with her own camera. Image courtesy of Sinéad O Donnell.
Online Drawing Sessions - PS2
I was delighted to be invited to lead one of the online drawing sessions run by PS2. These sessions were born out of lockdown but have proved to so enjoyable and accessible that they have continued and still run using the same link each week. Everyone just works with what they have to hand, unless the leading artists requests specific materials, and there can be some movement involved as well. Emily Lohan runs a good session. The focus isn't on being a great drawer, it is more about making your marks, or any marks. Drawings are shared by holding images up to the camera on whatever device you are using. I would love to see all the work in real life.... Link to the online communal drawing page is in the image below.
R-Space 10th Anniversary
Back in 2013 a nervous Art and Design Btec student, I approached R-Space Gallery, located across the road from SERC, Lisburn, offering to volunteer for the gallery. Fast forward 8 years and with a BA 1st Class Hons Fine Art degree achieved and half way through Belfast School of Art MFA course, I never imagined that I would be resident artist in the building and freelancing in several roles for the gallery. I can't thank everyone at R-Space enough for the support and opportunities I have received and I hope that my contribution helps lay the foundation for another 10 years.
From a non singing part in an opera to climbing up and down scaffolding to video editing, I have learnt so much and had the best craic.
Here is a taste of what we have been up to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgQ-Sf52d70
MFA 1st Year Exhibition
As restrictions start to ease it has been a joy to have the opportunity to exhibit work in a show that may be able to receive visitors by the end of May. Polyphony 21 is a group exhibition hosted by QSS Studio in Belfast. The exhibition will be hosted online until 25th May, when online booking will be available. Bringing the end of an academic year to a close, this is the first time all the year group has met in person and it has been great to get to know everyone a little bit better and see their work. For more information visit the QSS website.
On a brisk November morning it was lovely to get out and about with the Distance Dancers in Wallace Park, Lisburn with Anthea McWilliams. I was commissioned to document the antics of the group, as they sashayed, skipped and lock stepped their way around the circuit. A wonderful morning with wonderful light. Anthea has had a successful dancing career and before Covid 19 ran Age on Stage, a seniors dance group. Unable to keep still, when restrictions permit, the group have moved the movement outside, sharing their love of dance and music with other visitors in the park, many of them joining in.
Buoy Park Art Podcast
Stepping in to the 21st century
Hosted by Oonagh McAteer and Zara Lyness, Buoy Park Art is a podcast full of chat about art and artists in Northern Ireland and beyond. Meeting on the Fine Art Master’s Course in Ulster University, Oonagh (BA Photography) and Zara (BA Fine Art) started the podcast as a relaxed platform to encourage inclusive discussions about art and artists and to extend a support network to independent and rural artists at all career stages. The podcasts include invited guests talking about their work and interests and introducing different topics each week, along with the ups and downs of the life or an emerging artist.
The podcast available on Spotify, Pocketcasts, Google Podcasts, Radiopublic, Breaker and more.
You can contact the artists directly on Instagram @buoyparkart, @oonaghmcateer and @z.lyness or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Opening in March 2020, ArtsFest was a group exhibition run by an artist collective and hosted in Arts For All in Belfast. This was an opportunity to showcase work from different projects together in a new way.
Belfast Botanic Gardens
In September 2019 I was delighted to install 6 porcelain Cryptolaemus Montouzieri in the ground floor area of the refurbished Tropical Ravine House in the Botanical Gardens in Belfast as a permanent installation.
The Australian Mealybug, or Mealybug Ladybird, is used as an ecological predator in the Ravine House, Palm House and greenhouses.
After several visits to the gardens and greenhouses I was curious about the white dots on some of the plants. The experienced gardeners were very helpful and explained how the larvae, that look the same as the pests to the naked eye, are the preferred method of pest control, reducing the need for pesticides in the delicate environment maintained for the plants.
The porcelain bugs will be used as part of the educational aids during school visits to the House. I could hear them being named as I left, one is called Bruce, another Sheila....
Engage Gallery Online
I was invited to exhibit and make performance work for the opening exhibition at the new Engae Studio Gallery in Galway. The Engage Gallery blog posts include details of the exhibition and an interview with the curator, Moran Been-Noon.
Thanks to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland I am delighted to be awarded the full amount from the Support for the Individual Artist programme. The funding will help towards equipment and development in ceramic skills.
Bbeyond Summer Monthly
The summer monthly is usually held in Helen's Bay, Co Down on or around Alastair MacLennan's birthday. We gather for the performance then have a birthday picnic.
Goose Lane Gallery
Goose Lane Gallery was an unfunded, voluntary gallery project that ran for over 3 years. Supporting emerging artists, with over 80 participating artists, it was great to be recognised and receive some positive feedback for our work during the Belfast Culture Night 2016.
Bbeyond held an extra monthly meeting that took place in Custom House Square, Belfast to celebrate the Dada Centenary.
Performance Art & Northern Ireland
Performance Art & Northern Ireland
The Golden Thread Gallery will present a series of documentary artefacts, still photography, video, film, and other archival materials, and will also host a series of performances from key artists such as MacLennan, Johnston, Connolly, and Bbeyond.
Belfast International Festival of Performance Art 2022
The third week in March was very busy I all the preparations for BIFPA 22 came together for a fantastic festival. With visiting artists including Joakim Stampe, Sandra Johnston, John Court, Nathan Walker, Peter Richards and Chuyia Chia, Rainer Pagel and many more, I was kept busy documenting and taking video for two full days. Starting out as a student volunteer, I ended up being brought onto the committee and have enjoyed every Destival since my first year in college in 2015. BIFPA 15 was also my introduction to performance art with a workshop with Helge Meyer from Black Market International. I have gone from attending a workshop with Alastair MacLennan to inviting him to run a workshop in my studio.
The Presence of Absence - QSS Artist Studios and Gallery
I took part in the exhibition by the Fine Arts Masters cohort that started their course in September 2019, many have just graduated, I am working at a slower part time pace. The time spent with this group of artists was beset with upheaval and uncertainty as we all were affected by the pandemic and will always have that in common.
I will miss the conversation in the studio with many of this group but know some of us will bump into each other regularly. I was pleased to have been one of the artists Slavka Sverakova selected to talk about and thank her for her words and appreciation of my simple thoughts with deeper meanings. Link to the blog post through the image below.
Gallery Days - ACNI
In the third video of a new series from the Arts Council, broadcaster, artist and DJ, Joe Lindsay, visits some of Northern Ireland’s galleries and takes in the exhibitions on offer.
Hair brushed and 'wearing something plain', I had the pleasure talking to Joe Lindsay about the Birgit Schoenaker exhibition and reopening the gallery after the Covid lockdown. After the official chat we discussed other activities that go on on the building including our regular Paranormal evenings (https://www.facebook.com/Evpparanormal28/) and all things paranormal.
Thanks to Joe and the team for calming my nerves as it is usually me asking the questions during recordings for the gallery. Link to the chat in the image below.
Peace in Mind - The 100
Along Pollen members Jayne Cherry and Aimee Magee, I have submitted artworks for this historical project run by Beyond Skin, Belfast.
Beyond Skin says 'Our plan for this project is to create 100 pages, with 100 pieces of art & stories from 100 women. Each page designed by participants will then be bound into a beautiful book, hand crafted with sustainable & ethical materials by the very talented Wilhelmina Peace. This book will travel, and a temporary digital version will be made available online. This book will then be placed in a time capsule to be opened in, you guessed it...100 years!... For us all we would like to think that in 100 years the imbalance issues we face now with gender discrimination, sectarianism, racism, and lack of care of our planet and will no longer exist. The 100 women in the book represent this hope.
Latest workshop project
Lead artist: Zara Lyness
Curator: Moran Been Noon
Tangible Selves aims to recognise different methods of creating a thoughtful self-portrait. Moving away from the traditional face, head and shoulders or selfie image, the participants will explore different methods and materials to create art work that creates alternative representations of themselves individually and as a group. They will explore how different materials and objects can be recognised as proxies that trigger memories and recollection and help us evolve how we think about ourselves. Through conversation, performance, drawing, sculpting, and assemblage, a series of objects, drawing and sound work will be produced that reflect the personalities and identities of each participant and how they engage with each other. https://pssquared.org/projects/tangible-selves
Brooklyn Art Library
Motivation during the Covid 19 lock down period was challenging. As a way to keep motivated and drawing I took part in the Boston Sketchbook Project. My sketchbook developed into a timeline of events during the period of restricted travelling. The sketchbook should be available to view online from September 2020.
On the Way
For the artistic programme of 2020, Bbeyond proposes the themes of Freedom and Identity (including Freedom from Identity), to help expand our thinking on these complex concepts. The NI border represents division and with its centenary looming and Brexit taking...
I was pleased to be one of the artists selected to make a solo performance for this event, held in Newry Town Hall, followed by a Bbeyond Monthly group performance in Newry the next day.
Back to School
After taking a break from studying I was accepted on to the Belfast School of Art Master's of Fine Art degree course. Very much looking forward to accessing the university facilities again along with stimulating conversations with staff and peers.
Artist Talk at Pollen Gallery
I was delighted to give some artist talks to the Amanda Croft ArttalksArtwalks group that visited the Odd Collection exhibition. As curator and exhibitor, it was great to be selected as part of their selected exhibition to visit.
Upper Springfield Development Trust community project with artists Lucy Turner, Charlotte Bosenquet, Zara Lyness and storyteller Ruth Graham in conjunction with Ark Housing's Moyard House, Rosevale House and Falls Womens' centre. Photograph courtesy of Joshua Crawford
In Flux -It's All about Me
I was delighted to have my work in the Belfast School of Art Degree Show reviewed by Slavka Sveralova
During the Eastside Arts Festival Bbeyond were invited to hold the Monthly performance outside the Engine Room Gallery where Creative Exchange artists were exhibiting for the festival.
During the Festival I worked as the volunteer manager, matching students with CEX artist for invigilation rotas.
Bbeyond monthly took place in Wedderburn Park, Lisburn Road, Belfast. After the group performance James King made the first Cumulator performance. The project was to run for a year, each month adding another performer to the group and another hour until Dec 2016 when 12 artists would perform for 12 hours.
This was my first experience of a Bbeyond Monthly. Bbeyond is committed to promoting the practice of performance art and artists in Northern Ireland and further afield. Our aim is to raise people’s consciousness of live/performance art as being integral to the world in and around us, inspiring reflection and enriching lived experience.