Deirdre Robb: Blue

Leading Belfast artist Deirdre Robb opens major solo exhibition inspired by Belfast’s waters. Watch an online exhibition below

Using rivers as a visual source, Belfast artist Deirdre Robb has created a unique, aesthetically pleasing exhibition at the Engine Room Gallery. Entitled Blue, it's a mixed media exhibit featuring paintings, installations and experimental prints.

The rivers of Belfast have always influenced Robb's memories and emotions, and with this exhibition she wants people to consider how they too have been influenced by the interweaving of water and rivers throughout their lives.

'In all of my work I want the viewer to have an experience of something of visual importance, but also I want my work to have an accessibility that allows the viewer to have a recognisable yet private connection, perhaps through their own memories or experiences,' Robb commented at the launch of the exhibition, which was attended by the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Naomi Long.

Robb’s art normally relates to a location, space or place; pushing boundaries to create a sensory experience. Previous exhibitions City and Compositions related to an architectural, cultural or aesthetic experience of Belfast.

When examining the various characteristics of the city, Robb found that she was more and more drawn by the river Lagan, the water in Belfast Lough and the many historical and personal connotations associated with it.

Robb admits that has always had a love/hate relationship with water. She was only five years of age when her young cousin drowned in a tragic accident.

As a child, Robb recalls many memories with family on annual visits to Bangor seafront – sea, swimming, Wavesand and ice-cream; and as a teenager hanging out with friends at Hazelbank Park on the banks of Belfast Lough – sea, crashing waves and boys.

'I experience an energy that can be comforting and almost hypnotic, drawing you in to embrace its flow and journey,' adds Robb of her experience living and walking near the River Lagan. 'Yet I acknowledge its powerful force that has a dangerous side. It can be deep, forceful and precarious.'

Colour has a driving and immediate impact on the works that make up Blue. The depth of blues and green are striking and dramatic. Texture also has an important role to play in pieces like ‘Finding myself at Creagh Glen’, ‘Deep and Wide’ and ‘I was Lost by the Connswater River’.

The installations have a 3 dimensional effect. In ‘Swell’, for instance, the large scale 12ft x 8ft resin floor piece, it is as if Robb has frozen a section of wave in a gallery setting. In ‘Coloured Rain’ Robb presents an alternative experience of what many consider to be the cold and unpleasant familiarity of rain.

The ongoing environmental impacts of global pollution are explored in the ‘Green Issues’, made up of test tubes in blue and green filled with Belfast rain water collected during the months of January, February and March this year.

Cliff Brook, Engine Room Gallery director said of the exhibition: 'We are delighted that Deirdre has agreed to exhibit with us again. This new body of work is impressive. The scale and variety of works are not only impressive but are strong and accessible. Her atmospheric works convey a sense of space, light and drama.'

Blue continues in the Engine Room Gallery until April 24.