Audrey Gillespie is an Irish fine artist from Derry, Northern Ireland. Currently living and creating in Belfast N.I. Her media include analogue photography, painting and printmaking. Gillespie’s themes explore queerness, mortality and conflict with youth and anxiety. In her current series ‘This Hurts’ Gillespie uses analogue images to translate heavy emotions through colour saturated images. Creating bleared lines between anxiety fuelled dreams using experimental double exposures, hallucinogenic atmospheres, soft focus and deep tones fuse the subject and backdrop in Gillespie’s images before whipping it back to sun glazed scenes settling into a fugue state.
‘This Hurts’ explores obsession, release and fantasy. My work runs in circles, building patterns, constructing itself into a wormhole of questions. Questions that ease me and questions that haunt me. Photography acts as a social space and a form of later isolation. Ritualistic, I build comfort with this routine. Night and darkness feature prominently in both my photography, it’s a space and time cherished from young memories. Vulnerability and fragility expose themselves throughout the work, in the form of subtext and saturation.
Everything I do, I do out of fear. Just as we all do, every day. I fear age and I panic to immortalise my peers, my relationships and my current youth at this hyper conscious point of my life. I fear isolation, I fear not living a good enough life, I fear the guilt I’ll feel if I do live the fullest life because some don’t have that fortune. I fear I’m driving myself to madness. I fear I’d never really know life at all if I wasn’t mad. I fear it’s all happening to quickly. I fear it can’t happen quick enough. I fear I’ll never be able to make a real decision ever again. Though I know I do, even now.
I’m trying to understand why I desire to live through other things; masquerading myself as them through my photographs, bleeding my persona into theirs as they do onto mine. I’ve spent so long trying to be one step ahead of the person that I thought I was always going to finally become and with that I fear I’ll spend a life time trying to become something else that I’ll never have gotten to know myself. I fear that my art is just an unhealthy obsession put in place in for me to exploit my bad habits. As a young woman the tendency to obsess has been cemented into my being since I even consciously knew how to obsess at all.
I try and snatch fleeting moments before they’re gone, clinging to whatever brings me release. I filter my anxiety into power, power that builds the foundation that makes me make art, which could be called a catharsis. I fixate my anxiety ridden dreams and overwhelming memories creating colour saturated objects and tender moments splayed out for me to remember, to acknowledge and accept.
I document queer youth through my interactions, stumbling around on this island in Northern Ireland. Driven by a hazy aesthetic I invite the viewer to submerge into a world of my bleared emotions. Using lo-fi techniques to create an unpolished form with 35mm format photography and camcorders, colours glaze over dark backdrops and I immerse into a self-constructed personalised fantasy.”
Credits Models are Richard Feeney, Megan Doherty, Susan Donaghy, Ria Adeyinka, Eloise O’neil, Gareth Sweeney, Joe Coulter, Melyssa Shannon, Carmen Richter, Gina Grainger, Sarah Hampstead, Cecil Gordon