Preview: Thursday 12 July, 6-9pm
Open: Saturdays and Sundays, 12-5pm, and by appointment.
Paradise Works presents The Future Is Bright The Past Is Colourful, a solo show by studio member Richard Shields.
Shields is a Manchester based artist from Northern Ireland. In October 2017 Shields was selected for the Impose|Lift residency in The Curfew Tower situated in Cushendall Northern Ireland. The residency is curated by Manchester based gallery The Penthouse and hosted by Bill Drummond. The residency focused on the political situation in Northern Ireland, the history of the tower, indigenousness and the other. Being unbaptized from Catholic and Protestant parents, Shields explored his ambiguous cultural identity through subjects that are stereotypically associated with Northern Ireland by those in mainland Britain and the rest of Ireland.
The time in the tower produced a multi-disciplined response, amalgamating painting, sculpture, performance and film. Shields has continued to explore issues surrounding the fractious history of his country, offering an alternative Ulster, in which art movements are at the centre of the troubles. Parallels are drawn between what some consider to be elitism within the arts and the secretive nature of Irelands paramilitary and masonic style fraternities.
Whilst predominantly sharing the same ethnicity, the people of Northern Ireland have been fighting over colour for centuries. The mobile network giant Orange once removed a billboard from the bottom of the Catholic Falls Road as it stated ‘The Future is Bright The Future Is Orange.’ This was deemed too sensitive given its connotations with the protestant Orange Order. Volvic's 'Orange and proud’ advert was not ran in Northern Ireland or Scotland for the same reasons. The Future Is Bright The Past Is Colourful takes the political correctness surrounding these issues as its genesis.
The following statement provides the mythical history from which the EVF arose from:
“On the 12TH of July 1690, a battle was fought between the Catholic forces of James the 2nd and the Protestant armies led by William of Orange from the Netherlands. The battle took place by the River Boyne in County Meath, Ireland. Long before this in 1516 a German Catholic Priest named Martin Luther began a protest against Renaissance Art and its surrounding opulence, perpetrated by the Roman Popes and their Banking fraternity. In 1532 Henry VIII, despite being fond of Renaissance Art, broke with the Catholic Church so he could he could divorce his wife and marry his new lady friend. These events led to the period known as the ‘Reformation’, which would pave the way for Modernism.
«The legacy of the Battle Of The Boyne and the Reformation would continue to have an affect on Ireland until the present day, splitting the country socially, politically, economically and geographically. The tensions between Protestants and Catholics In Northern Ireland have traditionally been expressed through public art, music and performance riots.
»Today The Orange Order is an arts institution whose annual music festival centred on the 12th of July is dedicated to the defeat of the Renaissance practices of Rome. High-ranking members of the Orange Order such as the now deceased Reverend Ian Paisley are akin to directors of arts institutions Like Nicholas Serota, formally of the Tate. Political groups such as Sinn Fein have operated in Northern Ireland in a similar capacity to the Stuckists, with Gerry Adams and Martin McGuiness playing a similar role to Charles Thomson and Billy Childish. Adams and Childish have since excommunicated themselves from their respective organisations, preferring to work on solo projects.
«The Esoteric Volunteer Force was founded in the Dungeon of the Curfew Tower located in the Irish Town of Cushendall, on the northeast coast of Northern Ireland. The founder of the EVF was sentenced to the dungeon for being an unbaptized heathen. Upon his release from the Dungeon The Founder began recruiting members with an aim to bridging the gap between Renaissance opulence and Modernism. The ‘EVF’ recruits members through an initiation process where in the candidate will write a regret on a piece of slate to be wiped clean by The Founder. In exchange for the clean slate an esoteric artwork must be created. These artworks can only be understood by other members of the organisation. EVF members can explain their work to one another through private group critiques or crits for short. The EVF is a non religious art organisation offering a progressive outlook with Renaissance sympathies.”
Follow the EVF on Instagram: https://instagram.com/the_evf/