37-39 Queen Street, Belfast, BT1 6EA

Pollen Studios and Gallery

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Upcoming exhibitions and events

Summer of Light

Solo exhibition by Grainne Dowling

Thursday 1st November 2018

Time 6pm - 9pm

Grainne Dowling is an Irish artist whose inspiration comes from the coastline of West Ireland, where she was born, and Curragh, Co. Kildare, where she lives now.


My work is a gestural and expressive description of landscape,drawing on the subconscious to access sensations, emotions and memories of time and place.

I want to celebrate the subtlety and nuance of the natural world.

Using the recognised language of landscape such as horizon lines and boundaries, the paint is pulled across the canvas, scraped back, re-worked, all the while being mindful of the shapes and edges created by accident, which speak to me of waves, clouds, rocks, light, shadow, colour and form.

My hope is that this sensitivity will strike a chord of recognition in those who view the work.

"The overall impression conveyed to the viewer is of being held in a liminal space, between the elements, between the abstract and the material, a sense of inhabiting this landscape that is gifted to us b the artists engagement with place and with the medium she employs to represent it so powerfully" 

Excerpt from "Liminal Landscapes", Jill Murphy PhD,review of "Island to Island", Galleri Roda Stugan. Sweden 2014

Image supplied by the artist:  Title: "For all that you gave" from "The Summer of Light" series, 100x100cm oil on canvas

Pollen Studios and Gallery are located on the 1st floor of the building so we apologise but there is limited disability access.

The Very Skin

Installation and performance by the Pollen Studio 2018 Graduate Award winner  Lykke Sønderkær

Thursday 4th October 2018

Time: 6pm - 9pm

Performance Time: 6.30pm (duration approx 20 mins)

The touch of the cold, warm, thin, thick, rough, or soft.

Only part of nature as per our acceptance,  

let language be the soft vulnerable skin

and the likewise vulnerable armour.

The Very Skin is a glimpse into the artist’s experience and fascination with nature, and the human meeting with this. Ideas of natural and unnatural, of being other, beauty in the detail, absent or present, are processed through a combination of performative elements, photography and sculpture.

Parts of the exhibition pays homage  and references Ana Mendieta, and Francesca Woodman whose work and dreams have provided huge inspirations to the artist.

Artist statement

(living - interdisciplinary -  part of nature - female - artist - being-  body)

Nature, humbles me with it’s elements and the countless ways it outsmarts and makes us humans, feel inferior. Yet it comforts me, as I am constantly reminded of my connection to it, the fact that I am part of nature.

Photography, performance art and objects, are all part of my practice and often in reference to the present/non-present body. Contrast fill my work, visually as well as conceptually. The open/closed, live/lived, fragile/strong, natural/obscure, inside/outside, warm/cold, light/dark, hidden/revealed, presence/non-presence.

My story, life, surroundings, body, touch and the camera are my materials and I respond to the world around me, gathering materials, creating connections through images and objects. My  experience of being in-between cultures and homes, gives rise to endless questions and my practice is a space for me to reflect inside on the outside. Questions of culture, identity, belonging, home, claimed and assigned space.

The internal and external join together in visual and tactile reflection of my perception. I reflect on,  and work with; time space and touch, the traces and remains of life lived.

Artist bio: Lykke Sønderkær was born in 1993 in Copenhagen. Always having pursued art, she traveled to Scotland in 2014 to study Art and Contemporary Practice and Philosophy at Dundee University. She recently graduated from Ulster University in Fine Art where she was shortlisted for RDS Visual Awards 2018 for her performance work.

website: lykke-s.com

instagram: @lykke.soenderkaer

email: lykke.soenderkaer@gmail.com

Practised Hands
Performance by Pollen members Jayne Cherry and Alice Clark
Venue: The Drying Room at Conway Mill, Belfast
Dates: 4th & 5th October 2018
TImes: 6.30pm - 8.30pm

Over forty years since production ended in Conway Mill, the Drying Room will be reanimated with the sights and sounds of our linen industry. Artists Alice Clark and Jayne Cherry invite you to their mesmerising new performance in harmony with excerpts from the Digital Film Archive of our industrial part. Join us either evening to discover what will emerge from this alchemy of raw materials and raw footage.

This live cinema event is a partnership project by Northern Ireland Screen, Film Hub NI and Pollen Studio. It is curated by Sinead Bhreathnach Cashell and funded by BFI Audience Network supported by the National Lottery.

Image courtesy of NI Screen part of BFI unlocking film Heritage from the collection of NMNI, original footage by Lord Wakehurst.

For more information: www.linenbiennalenorthernireland.com


Solo video-install-action by Eleni Koliopoulou

Thursday 27th September

7.00pm - 10.00pm

Participation between 7,00pm and 8.00pm

Discussion between 8.00pm and 10.00pm

Video-Install-performance by Eleni Koliopoulou

Sky-field is the third installation project by performance artist Eleni Koliopoulou that forms part of her practice based PhD research in Ulster University.
The event will be a video-install-action that explores and seeks to expand our body's relationship with our surroundings. The audience will become co-creator of the installation and will be encouraged to participate to it.
There is no need for any kind of prior experience to take part to Sky-field and you might feel free to join it for as long as you as you are present or to step back occasionally and then re-join the flux.

Sky-Field is part of her practice based research upon the Butoh body notion as enriching elements of installation art (both formally and conceptually). Butoh is a contemporary Japanese dance form that arose in parallel with happenings in the Western art world. It encompasses a creative meditative state and body awareness, aiming primarily to an alternative dwelling of the environment. Install-action is a term coined by Brian Connolly and marks an interdisciplinary grey area of research.

The event will be a welcoming and engaging experience commencing at 7pm and lasting for about an hour.
An informal discussion of the experience is going to follow right after the event, at around 8pm, to which you are invited and encouraged to contribute by sharing your own thoughts.

If possible, please come dressed in white clothing.

The Lace Guild of Northern Ireland

Group exhibition by guild members

Thursday 6th September 

7.00pm - 9.00pm

Lace making workshop in the gallery on Saturday 8th September from 2.30pm - 4.00pm

The Lace Guild of Northern Ireland was established in 1987 with the aim of achieving the following:

1.  To promote lace making in Northern Ireland
2.  To encourage and educate its members in the skills of lace making.
3.  To organise speakers and teachers to further the purpose of 1and 2.
4. To arrange exhibitions of the members work.

Meetings - are held on the second Saturday of each month - September to June at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Cultra, Holywood, County Down.

For more information:www.lacguildni.weebly..com

No lift access. Gallery on 1st floor.

This Other Place

Solo Exhibition by Stuart Cairns

Thursday 2nd August 

6.30pm - 9.00pm

This Other Place is an installation by Artist/Silversmith Stuart Cairns exploring the language of the landscape and materiality through domestic objects and space. A series of vessels and utensil type objects set in and around structures which echo both the natural landscape and the setting of the home. The installation uses precious, non precious metals, found objects and natural materials in combination to evoke a sense of being, of lives lived within the landscape.
The gallery will then be open Thursday to Saturday 12.30pm - 4pm or by appointment.

Please contact info@stuartcairns.com

Access to the 1st floor gallery by stairwell only.

Drawn to Sound

Open invitation to draw in the gallery

Thursday 7th June

6.30pm - 8.30pm

For late night art the gallery has been converted into a drop in drawing space. Please join us in responding to live sounds with a variety of off beat drawing implements.

The Big Red Button (New opening date)

Group exhibition: Belfast Artists Paper Society

Thursday 3rd May

7pm - 9pm 

A year after their first exhibition B.A.P.S. are back. The Belfast Artists Paper Society have turned their attention to Armageddon, the End of the World and The Big Red Button. How do you prepare? What will you need? Who will you need? Is there anywhere you can go for advice?

Artists Sue Cathcart, Jayne Cherry, Susan McKeever, Emma McAleer, Nathan Crothers, Emma Whitehead, Deby McKnight, Zara Lyness and Georgia Eliott have done some research on your behalf and present the results.

Sue Cathcart:

I work in fairly small scale using traditional techniques, gluing and painting and stitching pictures and creatures together out of forgotten scraps, all of my work costs nothing to make. I invest time and effort in creating things that I want to see and that make me laugh. I collect phrases from overheard conversations scuttling home to make a picture or creature using them. I might change a word or put in a space, cutting out the words and shifting them around for ages until it pleases me.


‘I like the excitement of creating an object out of diverse and worthless materials to produce something thought provoking and interesting. 

Jayne Cherry (Pollen Studios) Working on the concept of surviving Armageddon, with visions of viral and bacterial epidemics sweeping the planet, I wanted to concentrate on the beauty of death, as its inevitability will remain undiminished. How long will our stores of antibiotics last and am I willing to change my personality to fight for survival. I think not. My position will be too allow the myriad of poisonous pigments from fever and illness to take my mind on a kaleidoscopic journey to my natural demise.

Susan McKeever: Graduated from the University of Ulster in 2000 with a BA Hons in Fine Art. She lives and works in Belfast.

My imagined doomsday world is set thirty years in the future

on a distant planet named after the German collage artist Hannah Hoch.

Planet Hoch has been newly populated with wealthy earthlings who have brought with them artificial intelligence, a love of excessive cosmetic surgery, animal/human mutation, body image disorders and fashion victim tendencies.

On the surface and on social media everyone is happy.

Contact E: .s.mckeever@yahoo.co.uk T: 07815713963

Emma McAleer

The Big Red Button is more than a physical object at the hands of power hungry men - it represents our treatment of the planet without considering consequences. Have we already pushed the big red button? 

  In Northern Ireland we face serious threats to the environment such as Gold mining in the Sperrin Mountains based on cyanide processing, sand extraction from Lough Neagh (regarded as the biggest illegal quarry in Europe) and Mobuoy landfill site in Derry (considered as Europe’s biggest illegal dump). These issues are serious whether we choose to face them or not. 

There are two problems for our species’ survival - nuclear war and environmental catastrophe - and       we’re hurtling towards them. Knowingly.”          Noam Chomsky

This body of work explores how the natural world, even after a terrible man-made environmental disaster - can begin again - perhaps not like before, but slowly adapting to shape its surroundings over time. 

Sooner or later, we will have to recognise that the Earth has rights, too, to live without pollution. What mankind must know is that human beings cannot live without Mother Earth, but the planet can live without humans"          Evo Morales

Emma Whitehead is a textile and mixed media artist based in Saintfield, County Down.

Growing up amidst the 80’s paranoia of looming nuclear apocalypse she took comfort once she learned we’d only be blowing up life on earth rather than imploding the entire planet.
Here she plays with concepts of space, time, scale, change and decay. In this short series she explores our impact (or the lack of it), re local political contexts and the wider universe.
Contact info@topfloorart.co.uk /07828570837

Deby McKnight's focus is embellished illustration. Inspired by the ridiculous and comical, she combines this with Medieval-inspired illuminated manuscripts to create pieces exploring how bizarre, fleeting thoughts become serious when they seep into the everyday.

By conflating the Four Pantomime Horses of the Apocalypse with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Deby highlights the absurdity our present situation – hypnotised by the blue light of technology and self-imposing famine through best before dates, we're already in the end of days. Juxtaposing the pathos of apocalypse-by-modern-life with an illuminated Medieval chronicle, she records a warning for posterity: the signs are here, the big red button has already been pressed.

Special thanks to Emily McHugh for use of her inspirational horse drawings.

Zara Lyness (Pollen Studios) As a worrier and list maker I have been thinking about appropriate things to watch out for, have and do in preparation for Armageddon. Best to throw nothing out now.....it doesn't hurt to plan ahead .....

Melody of Dust

Artists : John MacCormack & Jasmin Marker

Curated by Colm Clarke & Tonya McMullan (CCTM)

Opening Thursday 5th April 2018

6pm - 9pm

Viewing by appointment between April 6th- 21st

Exhibition of two emerging Belfast talents whose work explores organic forms, traces and movement.


April 14th- 2pm

Infinity farm to host Action Learning workshop for those looking to develop sustainable practises. Free but booking is essential


Colm Clarke and Tonya McMullan (CCTM) work collaboratively as artists, curators and urban farmers. Their projects are site specific and responsive, including one day curatorial projects, artist run initiatives and interventions in the city.


Melody of Dust Artists

John Macormac



John Macormac (b.1981) is an artist living and working in Northern Ireland and a current co-director at Catalyst Arts. He has recently graduated from the University of Ulster with an MFA in Fine Art. John helped establish Cathedral Studios, a Belfast based artist run studio organisation in 2003. His art practice is multi-disciplinary, embracing performance, installation and drawing.


The two main aspects of my current art practice are wall drawing and drum performance. Drawn components become part of curated, atmospheric sets for performances. Sculptures are imposing and hard edged. Lighting is subdued, there is often a palpable sense of mystery.

I write recipe scores that prescribe what will be played using electronic drums and a loop station connected to an amplifier. I may perform pieces or invite other musicians to do so.

These scores provide rules or instructions. Sections become looped and layered. This approach interrupts a conventional, musical approach to drumming. They are written to encourage improvisation, each iteration will be different.

I find inspiration in many places, and enjoy clashing elements associated with disparate genres. The dark aesthetic draws influence from gothic and heavy metal subcultures. The synthesised palette of sounds built in to the electronic drum kit are associated with early techno. Drawn scores are informed by the experimental compositions of John Cage and jazz musician Anthony Braxton.

Performance clips




Image:  Geometric Monolith and Electronic Drums, wooden sculpture and object, Redeemer Central Church, 2016

Melody of Dust Artists

Jasmin Marker

Jasmin Marker is a Belfast-based, German born interdisciplinary artist who works primarily with members of the microbial kingdoms. Engaging with a variety of biocultures she seeks analogies to societal cultures, exploring relevant scientific and anthropological concepts and their philosophical paradigms. While her research originates from a dedication to environmentalism and sustainability it extends deeper into questioning the evolution of human psychology. Jasmin graduated from University of Ulster with a Bachelor in Fine Art in 2016, where she has completed a graduate residency in 2017. Since she has exhibited in various galleries in Northern Ireland including PS2 Gallery (March 2017), Catalyst Arts (October 2017) and currently shows as part of the group show Kills 99,9% of Bacteria at CCA Derry:Londonderry.

Image: Growing Noise - part 1, detail shot, March 2017, PS2 gallery

Practised Hands

Jayne Cherry and Alice Clark

Thursday 8th March

7pm - 8.30pm


To celebrate International Women's Day, Pollen Studio invite you to an evening of archival film and performance. Alongside the screening of scenes from the local linen industry and the significance it had upon working women, artists Jayne Cherry and Alice Clark will undertake a performance re-evaluating the significance of linen and the ways it can be repurposed for today. The cloth has an illustrious past but how do we imagine a future for the cloth in a consumer society which disregards waste.

This event is in partnership with Film Hub NI and showcases footage from the Northern Ireland Screen Digital Film Archive. It is funded by BFI Film Audience Network supported by The National Lottery. 


Solo performance by Sandra Corrigan Breathnach

Thursday 1st February

6pm - 9pm

What is Truth?, Coherence theory sits on the manifestation of truth being a consistency of belief, being true regardless of its basis, failing when conflicts arise as equal status would have to be given to other sets of mass belief. What happens when we examine our own truths our own beliefs? What happens if we find that they hold no roots in the physical reality which is the basis for the Correspondence theory of Truth. What if there is no theory that can quantify Truth?

Today we are caught in a cyber haze of doctored images and doctored truths, but looking back how can any Historical Truth! Be deemed factual, Can we hold true what we have been taught to believe, based on other humans beliefs or Histories? We are all flawed, Propaganda is nothing new our human history has been so distorted and tainted with repetitious propaganda for power plays and ruling agendas. Do we continue on the path of blind faith for fear of examining the what if?


Contemplation, Regression

Solo performance by Sarah Smith

Thursday 4th January 2018 

6.30 - 8.30 pm

BA Fine Art graduate, Sarah Smith, is currently in her first year of the Ulster University MFA course. Her work seeks to explore intrinsic interpersonal human issues both psychological and emotional. Current and recent work investigates how past traumas can resurface, manifesting themselves in the guise of compulsive behaviours, such as repetition of rituals and action(s), and become a basis for self-expression artistically or otherwise. She is interested in particular in the art-making process as a means of communication and ‘working through’ trauma, realising now how vital this communication through making has become. Recent exhibitions include RUA 2017 and NI Hospice Art Exhibition.

Poster image credit: Zara Lyness

Happenstance Exhibition

Thank you to everyone who braved the chill for Late Night Art Belfast on Thursday 7th December. For those of you who could not make it, please enjoy a look through the work here. Click on each image for more details.
We are extremely grateful to all the artists who so generously donated to this fundraiser. 
If you have been unable to purchase a £15 raffle ticket, we also have a spot prize raffle, at £5 a ticket for a variety of interesting prizes.


Pollen Studio Fundraising Raffle

Thursday 7th December 2017

6pm - 9pm

Pollen Studios invite you to a preview exhibition of art work donated by artists based all over Ireland for our Christmas Fundraiser. The raffle will take place on Thursday 14th December with tickets priced at £15. Every ticket is guaranteed a prize so tickets are limited!


Solo exhibition by Dermot Gibson

Thursday 2nd November 2017

6pm - 9pm

Dermot Gibson is an artist and musician based in Belfast that works predominantly in painting, drawing and sound. He uses improvisation, collage and free expression to explore internal and external worlds. He is Interested in the human condition, the personal and political.


Solo exhibition: Artist - Ruth McGillicuddy

Exhibition opening 

Thursday 5th October 2017

6.30pm - 8.30pm

(Image credit: Megan Dallat)

Every year Pollen Studios selects and award an emerging artist from the Belfast School of Art Degree show to present an exhibition in the Pollen gallery space.

Pollen Studios and Gallery are pleased to present a solo exhibition by Ruth McGillicuddy titled ‘nude.’.

‘nude’ is a body of work derived from the need to evoke feeling others. Dwelling on family relationships and loss, Ruth has created an installation that reflects the interest we take in lived spaces. She concentrates on the reluctance to change the last trace of a loved one in a space, as if the moving of an object moves the person further from memory.

All That Sits Unsaid

Solo exhibition: Artist -  Stuart Cairns

Exhibition opening 

Thursday 7th September 2017

6.30pm - 9pm

All That Sits Unsaid is a reflection of Stuart Cairns’ interest in materials, places and things. It contains a series of objects found on various walks through forests and fields, along shorelines and urban streets. Some are set out as discovered, some are manipulated into new forms and some are fabrications responding to the rhythms and shapes of the others. This collection of objects, manipulated materials and fabrications act as a drawn language to suggest stories -of wanders by the sea, wonders in the forest and small moments in the city. They show the richness of the material world, the wonders of the everyday which can light up the imagination and speak volumes through their quiet, small forms sitting as poems to the landscape.

Film Makers

Sharon Adams | Sheena Devitt | Alison Fitzgerald | Nicola Gates | Ronan Lowry | Peter Surginor 

Featuring films by Northern Ireland Screen Digital Film Archives and TACA

Thursday 3rd August 2017

6.00pm - 9.00pm

Image credit: Bob Johnston making a Lambeg Drum for Ulster Television news, 1960 courtesy of UTV Archive and Ronan Lowry by TACA 2017

In celebration of Northern Ireland's rich craft landscape past and present, six makers were invited to produce new work in response to heritage footage from the Northern Ireland Screen Digital Film Archive. Film Makers emphasises the value of craft makers in the province and records a samples of their activities for future generations to enjoy through archive film.

Sharon Adams explores the theme of work and tools. Using wood, metal and textiles. she makes functionless tools which invite  the viewer to imagine what they might be for and comments on the value of skilled making.

Sheena Devitt carves into stone and slate to create site specific sculptural artworks. The designs are inspired by and respond to the site's topography and history, it's orientation and present inhabitants.

Alison Fitzgerald has been weaving willow since moving to Ireland over 25 years ago. Her baskets are admired internationally for their subtle blends of natural bark colours, strong curves and tactile qualities.

Nicola Gates is the founder of Olla Nua, a small weaving studio creating handwoven textiles that add warmth, comfort and tactility to the modern home and accessories that can be carried or worn.

Ronan Lowry runs Design Onion, a young energetic furniture design and manufacture studio. Working mainly to commission for both private and corporate clients, they create unique and innovative pieces of bespoke furniture fusing contemporary design with traditional craftsmanship and high quality materials.

Peter Surginor is an artist making beautifully devised works in porcelain that reflect his political consciousness. His interventions contribute to dialogue surrounding wider social injustices, memorial and a divided sense of national identity.

Extinct Sound Installation
Artist - Dr Josephine McCormick
Thursday 1st December 2016

Dr Josephine McCormick is an artist, printmaker and educator, based in Belfast, N.Ireland. Specialising in Fine Art Printmaking, Josephine’s practice interests span science and technology towards developing hybrid applications for fine art printmaking practice. Areas of special interest in her work are investigating the creative potential between sonic technologies and printmaking processes towards producing a hybrid body of sound embedded print work. She has captured frequencies to generate cymatic patterns, producing collographs from these and presenting the work in an installation format. She is currently capturing sound/voice to produce ‘visual spectrograms’, which are then used as a visual resource in the making of print work. She values collaboration and has worked with multi-disciplinary groups of engineers, scientists and sound artists in the making of print work.

The Lime Walk Project


Paola Bernardelli

Stuart Cairns

Alice Clark

Aidan Deery

Gail Mahon

Heather Dornan Wilson

Thursday 6th August 2015

Mak9 is showing The Lime Walk Project at Pollen Studios – opening at 6.30 on Thursday 6th of August and continues on the 7th and 8th of August from 12-4pm each day. The exhibition shows the continuing work of Paola Bernardelli, Aidan Deery, Alice Clarke, Gail Mahon, Stuart Cairns and Heather Wilson drawn from their shared experiences on a short residency at Castle Ward in 2014. Collectively the work covers many media including sound, film, installation, ceramic and lens based media with the practices overlapping in many instances. This exhibition was originally shown in Void Studios in Derry earlier this year, the show at Pollen is a progression from this and is only on for a short time so be sure not to miss it. Mak9 is a collaborative collective interested in making in all its forms headed up by a steering group of Heather Wilson, Gail Mahon and Stuart Cairns and its participants have all shown nationally and internationally.

Action Stations

Artists - Jayne Cherry, Karine Talec, Alice Clark, Claire Hall

Thursday 2nd April 2015

Live performance. 4 artists/4 tables.