From performance to painting to design, the queer Irish artists you need to know about

A roundup of stunning creations from the talents of Lisa Barry, Stephen Doyle, Amy Lauren McGrath and Áine O'Hara.

A selection of work by queer artists

From painting to performance, illustration to jewellery design, queer artists across Ireland are sharing their exceptional creativity through a series of exhibitions, live performances and online stores.

Here is a roundup of four queer artists taking the country by storm this week.

Numb – Stephen Doyle

Exhibiting in the Triskel Arts Centre, Cork, Stephen Doyle’s exhibition, Numb, features new works examining the experiences of the Chinese LGBTQIA+ community. Doyle uses the prevailing social control over queer culture in China as a metaphor to address historic and ongoing discrimination–even stigmatisation–of queer people across the globe.

In a series of works informed by a residency in Shanghai, Doyle looks at China’s restrictive social structures and conventions with respect to sexual minorities. The artist focuses on individuals that they encountered during their residency–ranging from a queer activist to anonymous citizens–to ruminate on the tension between the conditions of existence of LGBTQIA+ people and normative sexual morale and behaviour.

Doyle makes portraits of LGBTQIA+ people, and often includes objects in the paintings, a gesture of ‘othering’ the art that mirrors the subject matter it investigates. The artist depicts subjects within everyday settings in a naturalistic manner; they usually sketch a character in situ, then later re-create the drawing in oil paint, sometimes also using their own photographs to finalise the composition.

Painting, and portraiture in particular, is associated with the iconography of power (for example politicians and religious figures), and consequently with mainstream worldviews, of which queer identity and culture have always been excluded. By invoking them, Doyle makes an ironic comment on the subalternization of the existence of the LGBTQIA+ community, and simultaneously does his part to illuminate it.

Everything Is Fine – Amy Lauren McGrath

Artist Amy Lauren McGrath will have a stunning solo exhibition, Everything Is Fine, in Third Space Cafe in Smithfield, Dublin, from September 28.

Get your hands on some beautiful prints. Amy will kindly donate 30% of profits from print sales to Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI).

The Patient Will See You Now – Áine O’Hara

Visual artist and theatre maker Áine O’Hara presents her new show, The Patient Will See You Now in the A4 Sounds Gallery, Dublin.

The show is an interactive installation and one-to-one performance work. Focusing on the inadequacies and farcical nature of accessing healthcare in Ireland, the work questions and exposes bureaucracies that oppress those who fall outside certain definitions of ‘normal’, ‘valuable’, and ‘productive’.

Áine’s work experiments with form, and focuses on connection, conversation and care. Their long term ambitions include demanding adequate access to theatre and the arts for disabled and marginalised communities throughout the creation of large scale, an=mbitious work as well as the continuation of community building projects like Chronic Chats – a creative and social group for chronically ill people.

Make Them Eat Cake – Lisa Barry

Joining other queer artists in creating stunning and provoking pieces, accessories designer, Lisa Barry’s Make Them Eat Cake is a collection of fetish-inspired avante-garde fashion accessories. Lisa shares, “For decades in fashion latex as a fabric was relegated to sex shops and underground covert fetish nightclub culture — seen as taboo and to be worn under the cover of darkness. Now fetish is merging with popular culture and bondage wear is becoming streetwear, what was once hidden is now being incorporated into daily life with pride. This is my take on that movement within fashion.

“Make them Eat Cake is a jewellery collection for everyone —  as a queer designer I wanted to make something that represented queer culture and combined it with contemporary fashion design. Each design is handcrafted incorporating leather and latex to create a refined, camp, elegant, empowering, and sexy accessory.

“From a person in a boardroom to a drag performer on stage, attending a wedding or a festival or just lounging around the house, these pieces are designed to make you harness your inner power.”

See more of the collection here. Image by Bob Gallagher @bobshoots3d.

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