news

SUPPORT

I am pleased to announce I have received an award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Lottery funds under the General Art Award Scheme.

If you would like to support my practice, you can contact me on grace_mcm@hotmail.com to discuss prices or you can donate to my paypal account

NGXX

NGXX: Twenty Years of the Naughton Gallery 13.10.22 – 29.01.23

Mike Buess / Síofra Caherty / Matthew Carignan / Eliott Gamer / Joy Gerrard / Krunal Gohil / Corinne Halbert / PJ Harper / Laura Kelly / Raven Leilani / Grace McMurray / Carlyle Nuera / Stuart Sandford / Przemek Sokołowski / Miranda Tacchia / Rachel Youn

To mark its twentieth anniversary, the Naughton Gallery presents NGXX, a large-scale group exhibition celebrating contemporary art today. Featuring a range of local and international artists, NGXX spans a broad variety of processes and practices. Painting, photography, drawing, sculpture, illustration, tattoos, and textiles are all represented, with none of the artists having exhibited their work at the gallery previously. Rather than looking to the past, this significant milestone in the Naughton Gallery’s history is commemorated through a visionary, panoramic survey of a truly exciting roster of artists at various points in their careers, from established names to emerging talents.

The NGXX artists explore a plethora of issues at the forefront of contemporary society, including politics, the environment, race, sexuality, family, and heritage, with references to Greco-Roman sculpture and mythology, Afrofuturism and Black excellence, the Extinction Rebellion and Fridays for Future movements, and sustainability in the fashion industry. Also featuring a psychedelic horror comic, kinetic plant installations, a 13-inch Latina icon, and some mighty morphin’ pop culture references, NGXX is bursting with captivating content from across the globe.

UPHOLD

I have been added to the Uphold Collection.  My work is available to purchase through www.upholdart.co.uk

Uphold is run by Household Belfast and is supported by Belfast City Council, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Arts Council NI.  Design by Nongraphic and Photography by Simon Mills

REMOTELY RADICAL

Artists Charlotte Bosanquet, Sally O’Dowd, and Grace McMurray came together through a shared interest in contemporary drawing to give us, Remotely Radical, an exhibition of new work, in Vault Studios in East Belfast. The artists visited Rathlin Island, on the north coast, where Bosanquet is Harbour Master, to rekindle their emotional and artistic ties, and create drawings in response to the wild times of the last 2 years, Covid, insurrections and all.

There is a lightening of spirit in the show, that may have come from their collective relief at not co-creating via Zoom, the joy of interpersonal interactions or just the experience of making a time and place together that can elicit new considerations of patterns, of place and of time.

Each artist experienced the grind of the pandemic’s induced isolation and the invisible labour of caring and planning for an uncertain future in their respective families and each has a unique link to the rural landscape and culture of the North of Ireland. 

“Resilience is used to describe people making their own histories (and geographies) but not under conditions of their own choosing”(MacLeavy et al., 2021, p.1568)

Our present terrain of culture and politics is seemingly always urgent and reactive, leaving little space or place for rumination, for careful looking and even for the kind of daydreaming that can make another world seem more possible. Remotely Radical is a reminder to engage in a purposeful construction of meaning for places that might prefigure a feminist/queer intention to abandon chronilogical time and ordered space. The work invites wildness.

“Wildness is where the environment speaks back, where communication bows to intensity, where worlds collide, cultures clash, and things fall apart.” (Halberstam, 2018, p.454)

From pencil, charcoal and paint on paper and cardboard, Remotely Radical requests our interaction with the psychogeography of sites of care and of rural space, with the invisibilisation of continuous unpaid labour. The wiggle of lines, twisted curving paper and the freedom of cardboard and paint, bring an energy, the force required for radical resilience. There is the lively contrast of Bosanquet’s colourful boats from open, family-friendly drawing sessions, alongside the monochrome but windswept large scale drawings of O’Dowd against the modernist optical ululating of Mcmurray’s surfaces, and in all three we encounter a playful resistance through an emergence of unpredictable identities. Against the backdrop of the rural idyll, the shadow of which is remote alienation, we can sense the self-determination of three people remaining expressive against some odds.

There is a simplicity to all of the works in the exhibition which harnesses them together, a deft touch to the overriding feminist psycho-geography and subjectivity that leads us towards ‘counter-typographies’ (Katz, 2001). An important addition to resistance and resilience is the re-working that art offers us. In the space in Vault, itself an urban island of resistance and potential, we are included in their dialogue of reimagining.

Emma Campbell wrote this text to accompany the show and the exhibition is supported by Cavan County Council Arts Office, the Esme Mitchell Trust, and Vault Artist Studios Belfast

‘Silence’ Graphite on Graph Paper, Grace McMurray, 2022

GALWAY

Array Collective will present The Druthaib’s Ball at Nun’s Island Theatre and Galway Arts Centre 13 August – 30 September 2022

Array Collective said, “We are all delighted to be able to show the work in Galway and open up a fresh dialogue with audiences in Ireland following on from the conversations it generated in England. The Galway outing naturally lends itself to explorations of the myths, music and politics inherent in the work.”

Pictured above is The Morrigan Designated Days Banner

FUTURE FOWARD

Future/Forward is a long-term studio programme and series of  exhibitions featuring new collaborative works by QSS members.  Conceived as a response to the pandemic, the programme paired 35 artists together to create experimental work, and to re-galvanise the studio community following the disruption of the past two years. The focus for this series of exhibitions is on representing artists’ working methods, of process and exchange, and the significance of creative dialogue.

Participating artists have worked closely with curator Jane Morrow since August 2021, through a series of over 80 studio visits, discussions and presentations, culminating in exhibitions in Belfast and Dublin.  I worked collaboratively with Clare French to create ‘Wearing My Heart on Your Sleeves’ part of which is pictured above.  

GLASTONBURY

Array Collective were in the Glastonbury Theatre & Circus Walkabout Line-up 2022.  It was a wonderful experience, thanks for having us.

NATIONAL MUSEUMS NI

National Museums NI announced the acquisition of The Druithaib’s Ball.  The acquisition was a result of months of planning and discussion, along with the support from the Art Fund and the Department for Communities. The artwork will be on display at Ulster Museum from January 2023.

Array Collective said: “We are thrilled the installation will have a permanent home in the North of Ireland. The acquisition for the Ulster Museum collection means that the work will be preserved for years to come and will be enjoyed by local audiences.”

RHA

‘We aren’t on the same wavelength’ has been selected for the 192nd Annual Exhibition at the Royal Hibernian Academy of Arts Dublin which runs from the 23 May – 24th July

ARTIST OF THE MONTH

I am Artist of the Month at QSS for the month of April.  Read my interview here

TURNER PRIZE

The Turner Prize 2021 has been awarded to Array Collective, it was announced this evening at a ceremony at Coventry Cathedral, in partnership with Tate and Coventry UK City of Culture 2021. The £25,000 prize was presented by Pauline Black, the lead singer of 2 Tone pioneers, The Selecter, during a live broadcast on the BBC. A further £10,000 was awarded to each of the other nominees. This year the Turner Prize exhibition is being held at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum in Coventry as a highlight of its City of Culture year.

The jury awarded the prize to Array Collective for their hopeful and dynamic artwork which addresses urgent social and political issues affecting Northern Ireland with humour, seriousness and beauty. The jury were impressed with how Belfast-based Array Collective were able to translate their activism and values into the gallery environment, creating a welcoming, immersive and surprising exhibition. The jury commended all five nominees for their socially engaged artworks, and how they work closely and creatively with communities across the breadth of the UK. The collaborative practices highlighted in this year’s shortlist also reflect the solidarity and generosity demonstrated in response to our divided times.

One of the world’s best-known prizes for the visual arts, the Turner Prize aims to promote public debate around new developments in contemporary British art. For the first time, this year’s Turner Prize jury selected a shortlist consisting entirely of artist collectives and artist-run projects: Array Collective, Black Obsidian Sound System, Cooking Sections, Gentle/Radical and Project Art Works.

The members of the Turner Prize 2021 jury are Aaron Cezar, Director, Delfina Foundation; Kim McAleese, Programme Director, Grand Union; Russell Tovey, Actor; and Zoé Whitley, Director, Chisenhale Gallery. The jury is chaired by Alex Farquharson, Director, Tate Britain.

IRISH MODERNISMS

modernisms screenshot

ARTISTS MAKE CHANGE

AirSpace gallery and a-n The Artist Information Company delivered Artists Make Change – a 12 month participatory R&D project designed to explore the role of the artist in society, and in particular to assess, and advocate for, how artists and art organisers can effectively work for change.
Making Change through Institutions and Archival Spaces commission can be accessed here

MUSIC

As Part of Box Moon No. 1, a live streamed music event to benefit The 343 and Dublin Digital Radio, Philip Quinn and I performed a set, layering a video of living in lockdown.   It is available on youtube

box moon

First musical recording in collaboration with Philip Quinn, DIE HEXEN and RUTH BATE. In collaboration with SheSellsSanctuary here’s a session of improvised music I collaborated on. It’s available on Bandcamp and ALL proceeds outside their fees will go towards mitigating the spike in domestic abuse.

https://batetheloveofhorsesahexuponyourgrace.bandcamp.com

I was due to perform at SXSW 13-22 March 2020 in Austin Texas but unfortunately it has been cancelled.

AWARD

The Irish News featured my Royal Academy award

irish news

I have won the Arts Club award at the Royal Academy 251st Summer Exhibition for my work ‘George Michael’. It was in Room VIII which was curated by Bob and Roberta Smith, ‘George Michael’ is available to view online

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COLLABORATION

The Expanded Studio Project, which invites dialogue and exchange between 14 Belfast-based visual artists, and 14 counterparts from Nottingham, will be showcasing my collaborations with Louisa Chambers, Marek Tabolewski and Georgina Barney in Primary

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DRAWING

I have been shortlisted for the Zealous Stories Drawing Competition with the project ‘Woven Polyhedra’

zealous

‘Cutcomb Polaroid’ has been included as a featured drawing in a publication Drawing: Research, Theory, Practise ISSN 2057-0384 (Print); ISSN: 2057-0392 (Online) Volume 1, Issue 2
Drawing: Research, Theory, Practice promotes and disseminates drawing research with a focus on contemporary practice and its theoretical context. This journal seeks to reestablish the materiality of drawing as a medium at a time when virtual, on-line, electronic media dominates visuality and communication. Intellect Ltd.

INTERVIEW

I am featured in the Art & Museum Magazine Spring 2019 issue which is now live. ‘Butterfly and Bee’ an interview with Derek Culley is on pages 36-37. You can also find it on their website in the Spring 2019 issue #familyofficemag

STUDIO

QSS has moved to the location- The Arches Centre 11-13 Bloomfield Avenue Belfast BT5 5AA To arrange a studio visit please email grace_mcm@hotmail.com

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BEEKEEPING
I have received a Preliminary Certificate of Proficiency in Beekeeping from the Federation of Irish Beekeepers’ Associations. Here is Colour Palette (Infinity Farm) commissioned by Infinity Farm for the rooftop of the Skainos Centre. They promote the health and wellbeing of urban communities by connecting organisations, people, plants and bees in Belfast.

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REVIEWS

Elephant.art review of the Jerwood Drawing Prize featuring my work

Moments of inception’ review blog

Precursor’ review blog