Pushing the Boundaries

Painting and photography meet in unusual ways at Queen Street Studios

Boundaries of colour and texture form the basis of Majella Clancy's Boundaries, Spaces and Subject Positions at Queen Street Studios Gallery, Belfast.

Clancy works with manipulated inkjet prints, and the use of empirical visualisations with paint and photography is a focal point of her work. Clancy explores the combined limitations of paint and photography.

'Inkjet I'Perhaps the most striking element of the work is the use of space within the interior dimensions of the prints. In Clancy's own words, 'The paint interacts with the photographic elements creating spaces which sometimes can form a three-dimensional quality'.

The blurred photographic imagery creates the main focus of each piece to which painted elements are added in the foreground, forming a third space within.

This is most prevalent in 'Boundary', a 2008 oil and inkjet print on diabond, an aluminium surface. The composition appears to be interspersed with different painting surfaces and techniques. For example, textured 'poured' sections of paint share the print area with 'brushed' fissures of paint. 

At first glance you could mistake the fractured thin paint as resembling a shattered piece of glass. But on closer examination my impression alters to approximate that of wire, cable or thread as it severs the entire print into shards.

The physical scale of the work on display is also used to investigate the relationship between paint and photography, with three of the eight pieces just under a quarter of the size of the other works. 'Division' is one of the smaller pieces, and here Clancy uses this reduced scale to intensify the composition and abstract components on view. 

Clancy also explores the relationship between digital imagery and painting. The starting point is an inkjet 'Inkjet II'print which is manipulated in various ways and is then reacted to through a variety of painting applications. 

Depending on how the paint is applied, the original image changes and the boundaries between what is painted and what is not become blurred. Are the painted aspects generated as an ancillary aspect of the completed composition? 

'I intentionally use a combination of painting with digital photography to create an obscure surface where the painted and photographic elements can shift roles,' Clancy explains. 

'The painted section breaches the seemingly arbitrary collection of pattern and contour created by the photography.'

Boundaries, Spaces and Subject Positions continues in Queen's Street Studios until August 7. 

Terri McManus