Up and com­ing artist cel­e­brates dance in im­pres­sive de­but show

Belfast Telegraph - - LIFE - El­iz­a­beth Baird

Make Room!

A Cel­e­bra­tion of Dance in North­ern Ire­land by Dan Fer­gu­son Ar­tisAnn Gallery, Belfast Un­til Fe­bru­ary 2

Ar­tisAnn Gallery opens the new year with artist Dan Fer­gu­son pre­sent­ing his first solo ex­hi­bi­tion.

Fer­gu­son is a Lon­doner who worked as a teacher of art and me­dia stud­ies be­fore mov­ing to Belfast, where he re­cently com­pleted an MA at the Univer­sity of Ul­ster.

Make Room! cel­e­brates the ex­pres­sion and en­joy­ment of dance, dancers and on­look­ers in North­ern Ire­land over the decades, from 1950s rock ‘n’ roll to raves, ska and con­tem­po­rary dance.

This show is strongly graphic in char­ac­ter, with the paints hav­ing a lu­mi­nos­ity in the colour pal­ette.

For me, the two strong­est im­ages are The Whistling Door­man and Off The Rails.

The Whistling Door­man re­flects that un­in­ter­ested, far­away look of a cer­tain kind of man. It is also in­ter­est­ing that it does not con­tain any dancers.

Off the Rails con­tains only two fig­ures. There is one male, star­ing at an ob­ject di­rectly in front of him, and at his side there is a fe­male fig­ure, fall­ing back­wards, per­haps in ec­stasy, but this ap­pears to be of no in­ter­est or con­cern to him.

This strange im­age seems to re­flect a counter-cul­ture of dance and, by its very com­po­si­tion, makes us ques­tion dance it­self.

The gallery says: “Dan Fer­gu­son en­joys paint­ing places and peo­ple, iden­ti­ties and souls and mostly seem­ingly ba­nal scenes, en­deav­our­ing to hon­our the spirit and his­tory of a per­son or place.

“He uses the sit­u­a­tion and set­ting, as much as the fig­ures, as pro­tag­o­nists to re­veal lay­ers within iden­tity, nar­ra­tive and era.”

Ex­hi­bi­tion: Whistling Door­man

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