Past Exhibitions

WILD TULIPS presents Haptic (paused), an exhibition by Mhairi Sutherland.

Preview Friday 10 December 2021, 5 – 7pm

Exhibition runs 10 / 12 / 21 – 18 / 12 / 21

Open Thursdays to Saturdays 12 noon – 5pm

Image Credit: Mhairi Sutherland, 2021.

Haptic Foto is a photographic project exploring and revisiting concepts and practices of the ‘haptic’ (touch) in both lens based and camera-less processes, and through an analogue darkroom set up for the duration of the project. Haptic Foto is equally a critical reflection on the labour and work of artmaking through the lens of the artist’s studio, and the darkroom as a site of production, research and connectedness. The work of setting up an experimental, pilot darkroom and activating the processes of a working, ‘wet’ photographic space where negative print film is developed and positive images are hand-printed using light, chemicals and finally washed in water, are resonant with the tactile, haptic circularity of producing, making, cleaning, repeating. 

Varying temporalities and radically different timespans loop and connect the disparate works of Haptic (paused). From seventy-year old family negatives, found during those first, disorientating weeks of isolation and reprinted in the darkroom, to Solargram images on photographic paper in hand-made cameras, recording the street outside the studio over several months. Monochrome images of former colonial landscapes and Victorian views are set alongside a camera obscura video filmed in real-time – reversed and upside-down – made on a bright September day during which a former military building was transformed, or perhaps more accurately, revealed, as a camera. The works come from a place of both familiarity and strangeness, on the cusp of each, belonging fully to neither, invoking a sense of the uncanny, heimlich/unheimlich, homely/unhomely simultaneously. Originating points and strands of the artist’s interests, experiences and interactions cluster and criss-cross this interim exhibition, entitled Haptic (paused) as it is just that. Oblique references to both our current ways of living with altered and unsettled circumstances and a moment to pause, consider, and discuss some of the photographic explorations before the darkroom is dismantled and the studio vacated.

The Haptic Foto photographic darkroom was established by artist Mhairi Sutherland as part of the Clarendon Street Studios, Derry/Londonderry for a limited time during the Summer/Autumn of 2021. Processes and explorations were shared online and the experimental artworks shared through the HAPTIC (paused)exhibition in the Wild Tulips Gallery include an Artist Talk and Darkroom tour, open to the public and all are welcome.

Mhairi Sutherland is a visual artist based in Derry/Londonderry and the north west of Ireland, working in photography, video, drawing and site-specific installation. Originally from Scotland, she was awarded a PhD in 2012 Dublin Institute of Technology (TU Dublin) and an MFA (Distinction) from the University of Ulster, Belfast (1994-96). Recent solo exhibitions include Gemini, Wild Tulips Gallery, (2020) Genesis Lost, Artlink, Inishowen (2019) and an exhibition residency After the Blacksmith (2018) Leitrim Sculpture Centre, Manorhamilton. Selected group exhibitions and projects include as an invited artist, LOVEARTBUYART, Golden Thread Gallery, (2020) a Hasselblad Foundation and Valand Academy, Sweden commission for Drone Vision: Warfare, Surveillance and Protest, a tri-partite exhibition in Gothenberg, Lahore and Nicosia in May 2018, and a 1418NOW and Golden Thread Gallery commission for PRONTO ‘Radio Relay’ UK cultural programme (2016). Her work has been exhibited in one person exhibitions in the Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny (Arc of Fire, 2011) OMAC, Belfast (Fig: YS, 2008) Context Gallery, Derry (Fathom, 2002) and Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow (Blackout, 1999). The artist has been involved with collaboration, social engagement and site-specific projects beginning with the Sitework Public Art team, Orchard Gallery, Derry (1988-89), is a founding member of artists’ group Not in Kansas, Glasgow (1998-2003) and is currently a member of LOCI(2014-) a group of women artists, researchers and writers. Her artwork has been included in numerous group exhibitions and is represented in private and public collections nationally and internationally.

Supported by Derry City and Strabane District Council Arts and Cultural Practitioner Award 2021/22 and Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust.