Aoife Burns

Assumption (sitting by the altar)

Oil on board

25.9cm x 33cm

Private Collection

Aoife Burns’ practice explores the concept of boundaries and divided space that comes with being from Belfast. Boundaries and separations have always been second nature to her; growing up in a divided city, the idea of walls, separations and ‘no go areas’ is considered with some indifference to Belfast natives. The society of the north of Ireland has been conditioned to identify ‘where’ a person belongs through the simple concept of space/locality of that person.

Although abstract in some form Burns’ paintings hold a personal quality through attachment of memories, photographs, movies and experiences relating to the urbanised historical city (Belfast) that filters a displacement within the works. The consideration of the fragmentation of the city, through the concept of Peace Walls and divided lines can be representative of ties between two places that then establishes an invitation, for the viewer, into something more- a hint at boundaries between two areas and what comes from being a part of these two areas. Places that exist within the paintings but might also resonate with the audience.

Burns was intrigued by how places can in some ways ‘define ourselves’, in his essay ‘Being There; a place, territory and identity.’, Charles S. Maier expresses his idea of us and them. Burns’ recent body of work is an investigation that considers this questioning of places and identity, often leading the paintings to hold a form of human presence or interaction.