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‘This Hurts’ – a photo series Audrey Gillespie

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 work explores themes of queerness, mortality and inner conflict with youth and anxiety.

Gillespie’s series ‘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 Northern Ireland, driven by a hazy aesthetic I invite the viewer to submerge into a world of my blared emotions. Using lo-fi techniques to create an unpolished form with 35mm format photography, colors glaze over dark backdrops and I immerse into a self-constructed personalized fantasy.



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