AboutMulti-disciplinary artist working in printmaking, painting, photography, moving image & sound
Jonathan Brennan (1978) is an artist living and working in Belfast since 2012. Originally from Dublin, he spent most of the early 2000s in Brussels, Belgium where he studied painting at the École des Arts d’Anderlecht. He previously studied History of Art & Architecture (and Spanish) at Dublin University, Trinity College Dublin and has a MSc in Multimedia Systems.
Jonathan is a multi-disciplinary artist working with various visual media such as printmaking, painting, video and photography. He also works with audio and text. His work is about place: architectural and urban places as well as what is traditionally referred to as landscape, and how both interact. He is drawn to the less obvious, the neglected and the abandoned – alleyways, culverted rivers, wastelands, abandoned spaces and objects. Brennan’s work is not overtly political, but rather seeks to prompt the viewer into looking with new eyes at the quotidian and to consider the wider forces that seek to manipulate how we think and act.
Jonathan works with various forms of visual media such as printmaking, painting, photography and video. Employing digital and traditional techniques, sometimes in combination, his work will often contain original texts and research. Brennan tends to tackle the same subject using a variety of media – for example, his 2017 solo show ‘Alleys of the East’ comprised a series of monotype prints; a 17-minute documentary featuring interviews and original music; experimental photographs and a printed zine.
Brennan says he enjoys collaborating with artists working in other media, in particular music and the written word.
At present: “I am currently developing a new body of work around the concept of capturing the sense/feeling of places through a combination of painting, 3d laser-scanning, audio and narrative, based on the notion that no individual form of representation can convey this completely on its own.”
Since moving to Belfast, Jonathan has exhibited in the Ulster Museum, Golden Thread Gallery, Framewerk, ArtisAnn, Belfast Exposed, the Crescent Arts Centre, and collaborated on a dramatic performance of ‘Door into the Dark’, producing a series of video poems for the new Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy, Northern Ireland. He exhibits regularly in group shows and had 3 solo shows in 2017, 2 in 2018 and 2 in 2019 and his latest in 2022.
Jonathan is a member of the Belfast Print Workshop and Vault Artist Studios.
- Trinity College Dublin (2000-2001) – MSc Multimedia Systems
- Trinity College Dublin (1996-2000), including 1 year Erasmus at the Universidad de Granada, Spain (1997-1998) – BA Hons Art History & Spanish
My work is about place: architectural and urban places as well as what is traditionally referred to as landscape, and how both interact. I am drawn to the less obvious, the neglected and the abandoned – alleyways, culverted rivers, wastelands, abandoned spaces and objects. My work is not overtly political, rather I seek to prompt the viewer into looking with new eyes at the quotidian and to consider the wider forces that seek to manipulate how we think and act. I work with various forms of visual media such as printmaking, painting, photography and video. I employ digital and traditional techniques, sometimes in combination, and my work will often contain original texts and research. I tend to tackle the same subject using a variety of media – for example, my solo show ‘Alleys of the East’ comprised a series of monotype prints; a 17-minute documentary featuring interviews and original music; experimental photographs and a printed zine. I enjoy collaborating with artists working in other media, in particular music and the written word.
Professional Design Practice
From 2010 I have worked as a freelance web developer, graphic designer, translator (of primarily contemporary art essays by Enrique Juncosa, former director IMMA) and writer. Prior to 2010 I worked in the British Council in Brussels as Web Designer and Communications Manager, the Art Management Dept of the Office of Public Works and volunteered in the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin.
Professional Art Practice
- 2020/21: group exhibition ‘Ink on Paper (mostly)’ at Down Arts Centre. Solo exhibition at Linenhall Library. Group exhibition ‘Response’ at Sea Holly. Group show at QSS. All currently pending.
- Northern Ireland Mental Health Arts Festival: ‘Mamalujo’ – 10 minute video piece chronicling lockdown: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQJzlFxy0iQ Online 18 -24 May 2020.
- Engage Art Studios, Galway: joint exhibition: ‘Winter Papers’: new work with Suzanne Walsh comprising our contributions to Winter Papers Vol. 5. Galway, November 29 November 2019 – 15 February 2020.
- Winter Papers: seven new works published in Booker-longlisted Kevin Barry and Olivia Smith’s annual anthology of art and literature in Ireland. Belfast, Dublin, Galway October 2019 – December 2019.
- ArtisAnn: group exhibition: works on paper for Christmas show. Belfast, December 2019.
- Belfast Print Workshop: group exhibition: works on paper for Christmas show. Belfast, December 2019.
- Dom Aktora: group exhibition: end-of-residency show at Dom Aktora featuring work by Irish and Polish artists. Gdańsk, Poland, December 2019.
- EastSide Visitor Centre: solo exhibition ‘Alleys & Rivers of the East’. Belfast, August 2019.
- Townhouse Gallery: group exhibition ‘Seeing Between the Lines’. Belfast, July-August 2019.
- Catalyst: group exhibition ‘In Orbit’. Members show. Belfast 18 April – 9 May 2019.
- Black Box (Green Room): solo exhibition ‘Animist’ of 40 new paintings. Belfast, March 2019.
- Golden Thread: group exhibition ‘Sparks’ – screening of 8 original video pieces created for new album ‘Hiraeth’ by Neil Foster. Belfast, Jan-Feb 2019.
- Framewerk: ‘Hiraeth’ album launch – screening of my response to Neil Foster’s music, comprising eight videos for each of the eight tracks. Belfast, 13 October 2019.
- Film Hub NI Cinema Day at Vault Artist Studios: talk and film screening of ‘Alleys of the East’, my short film featuring interviews and footage on the subject of entries in East Belfast. Belfast, Vault Artist Studios, 27 August 2018.
- Riverside Theatre Coleraine: solo exhibition ‘North by North’ of 18 new works (screenprints, monoprints, etchings, photographs) and texts of my exploration of ancient and more recent manmade and natural phenomena in the Causeway, Coast & Glens district. Coleraine, June-September 2018.
- Framewerk gallery: solo exhibition ‘Guadalupe & Other Hallucinations’ – extended version of 2017 exhibition (see below) featuring new linocut prints and a live interview with Gregory McCartney from the Abridged art journal. Video available soon. Belfast, July 2018.
- Framewerk gallery: group exhibition ‘The Art of Cycling’ – exhibition of prints on the theme of cycling. Belfast, June 2018.
- Catalyst: group exhibition ‘Program Your Retroactive Wish’ – exhibition of recent work by current members. Belfast, May 2018.
- QSS: group exhibition ‘Christmas Show’ focusing on small works by Belfast-based artists. Belfast, December 2017.
- ArtisAnn: group exhibition ‘When Angels Sing’ ¬– Christmas show featuring work from ‘several of ArtisAnn’s favourite artists from 2017’. Belfast, December 2017.
- Cotton Court gallery (Belfast Print Workshop): group exhibition ‘Passion for Print’ – anniversary show featuring work from current members. Belfast, December 2017.
- Framewerk group exhibition: ‘Winter Show’. Belfast, December 2017.
- Crescent Arts Centre café: solo exhibition ‘Mandala’ – 8 new screenprints resulting from my collaboration with the Indian vocal group Siri: www.bpw.org.uk/content/jonathan-brennan-crescent-arts-centre-cafe. Belfast, October-November 2017.
- Crescent Arts Centre: group exhibition ‘40³’– celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Belfast Print Workshop featuring members work alongside prints that each member has chosen from the archive. Belfast, October 2017.
- Fenderesky Gallery: group exhibition ‘The Art of Printmaking’ – an exhibition of over 50 selected prints from the BPW membership and archive. Belfast, August 2017
- Galway International Arts Festival: group exhibition ‘Impressions Open Biennale’ representing ‘all that is happening in the contemporary print world today providing a unique platform for emerging and established artists including some of the biggest names in Irish contemporary art.’ GMIT Galway, July 2017.
- Cotton Court gallery (Belfast Print Workshop): solo exhibition ‘Guadalupe & Other Hallucinations’ – 12 linocut prints by artist Jonathan Brennan based on the book ‘Guadalupe & Other Hallucinations’ by the artist’s brother. See video summary: https://vimeo.com/210793736 Belfast March/April 2017.
- Framewerk gallery: solo exhibition ‘Alleys of the East’ – 20 monotype prints on the theme of alleys in the east of Belfast and a 17min video shown in the Belfast Film Festival. March/April 2017. See video summary: https://vimeo.com/212054300
- ArtisAnn gallery: group exhibition ‘Winter Themed Artworks’ by Established and Emerging Artists’ show. Belfast, December 2016.
- Seamus Heaney HomePlace: a series of 10 original ‘video poems’ for a dramatic performance of ‘Door into the Dark’. Bellaghy, November 2016.
- Framewerk gallery: group exhibition ‘Art of Cycling’ featuring cycling themed works. Belfast, June 2016. • Abridged print edition: ‘Polluting the Rivers with Severed Body Parts’ mixed media print in Abridged art journal (Abridged 0 – 43: Lethe)
- Belfast Exposed & the ‘Bath House’ group exhibitions: ‘Wish You Were Here’ photographic exhibition at Belfast Exposed and the ‘Bath House’. Belfast, 2013 & 2014.
- Galerie Vertige group exhibition ‘Une Seule Couleur’. Brussels, 2011.
- Galerie Vertige: group exhibition ‘Copie Originale’. Brussels, 2010.
- Parcours d’Artistes: solo exhibition of oil paintings and linocut prints. Brussels, 2010.
- École des Art d’Anderlecht: Group exhibition – end of year show. Brussels, 2009.
- Douglas Hyde Gallery: group exhibition – Masters in Multimedia Systems end of year show. Dublin, 2001.
Articles on Contemporary Art
- ‘Multi-Matrix’ Print Symposium review – VAI Newsheet.
- Karen Daye Hutchinson ‘A Harlot’s Progress’. VAI: The Visual Artists’ News sheet (Issue 3: May – June 2019): https://visualartistsireland.com/karen-daye-hutchinson-a-harlots-progress
- Elizabeth Magill – ‘Headland’: A Printmaker’s Perspective. A Belfast Blog, 19 September 2018: http://www.abelfastblog.com/2018/09/19/elizabeth-magill-headland-printma…Publications
- ‘Guadalupe and Other Hallucinations’ by Dylan Brennan (2017). Penny Dreadful Press Dublin. 10 x linocut illustrations for eBook.
See Writing for more.
- December 2019: International residency featuring Northern Irish / Polish artists at Dom Aktora, Gdańsk, Poland.
Selected Translations on Contemporary Art
- Joana Vasconcelos: I’m Your Mirror (2019). Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao. ISBN-10: 8417048812 / ISBN-13: 978-8417048815 Translation of catalogue essay by Enrique Juncosa.
- Philip Taaffe – The Face of Glory (2018).
- Translation of essay by Enrique Juncosa on the Jablonka collection of Philip Taaffe works. Translation of commentary on 28 Taaffe paintings.
- William Crozier – The Edge of the Landscape (2017). IMMA. ISBN-10: 1901192482 / ISBN-13: 978-1901192483 Translation of ‘The End of The Modern World’ catalogue essay by Enrique Juncosa
- Leonora Carrington (2013). IMMA. ISBN: 9781938922206 Translation of ‘A World Made of Magic’ catalogue essay by Enrique Juncosa.
- Vicky Uslé – Building Saja (2012) https://vickyusle.com/en/texts Translation of catalogue essay by Enrique Juncosa.
- Philip Taaffe – Anima Mundi (2011). IMMA. ISBN: 978-1-907020-60-5 Translation of catalogue by Enrique Juncosa.
- Apichatpong Weerasethakul – For Tomorrow For Tonight (2011). IMMA. Translation of ‘Tender is the Night’ catalogue essay by Enrique Juncosa.
- Boulevard Magenta (issues 1-7) (c. 2009-2011) IMMA. Translation of essays, short stories and poems by Enrique Juncosa. I also translated part of the screenplay for ‘The Skin I Live In’ by Pedro Almodóvar.
- Vertical Thoughts: Morton Feldman and the Visual Arts (2010). IMMA. ISBN: 978-1-907020-08-7 Translation of two essays by Juan Manuel Bonet (Reina Sofía, Madrid) and Enrique Juncosa (IMMA).
- Ferran Garcia Sevilla (2010). IMMA. ISBN: 978-1-907020-38-4 Translation of catalogue by Enrique Juncosa.
- Terry Winters Signal to Noise (2009). IMMA. ISBN: 978-8-881587-52-0 Translation of catalogue by Enrique Juncosa.
- Parreno (2009) Centre Pompidou Editions ISBN: 978-2-84426-385-8 Translation of catalogue essay by Enrique Juncosa.
- William McKeown (2008). IMMA. ISBN: 978-8-881587-15-5 Translation of catalogue essay by Enrique Juncosa.
- Order Desire Light (2008). IMMA. ISBN: 978-1-903811-90-0 Exhibition of private drawing collection belonging to Mercedes Vilardell. Translation of catalogue essay by Enrique Juncosa.
- In Praise of Shadows (2008). IMMA. ISBN: 978-8-881587-14-8 This publication revolves around shadows, shadow theatre and silhouettes as well as stories based on traditional folklore, contemporary short stories, literary works and simple narratives. I translated an essay by Enrique Juncosa.
- Jack Pierson (2008). Xavier Hufkens, Brussels ISBN 978-9-081291-23-1 Translation of catalogue by Enrique Juncosa. • Miquel Barcelo: The African Work (2008). IMMA. Translation of catalogue by Enrique Juncosa.
- Miquel Barcelo (2007). IMMA. ISBN-10: 8861300375 ISBN-13: 978-8861300378 Translation of catalogue essays and interviews by Enrique Juncosa.
- Miroslaw Balka: Tristes Tropiques (2007). IMMA. ISBN: 978-1-903811-78-9 Translation of catalogue essay by Enrique Juncosa. • Iran do Espírito Santo (2006). IMMA. ISBN: 978-1-903811-65-1 Translation of catalogue essay by Enrique Juncosa.
- Jyothi Basu. Landscapes Towards A Supreme Fiction (2006). Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke Translation of catalogue essay by Enrique Juncosa.
- Du Côté de Bran (2006) illustrated by Stephen McKenna. Translation of poems by María Vela. Limited edition of 275 copies.
- Dorothy Cross. (2005). IMMA. ISBN: 88-8158-533-2 Translation of catalogue essay by Enrique Juncosa.
- Francesco Clemente: New Works (2004). IMMA. ISBN: 1-903811-27-9 Translation of catalogue essay by Enrique Juncosa.
- Juan Uslé: Open Rooms (2003). IMMA. ISBN: 8-8496008-39-7 Translation of catalogue essay by Enrique Juncosa.
- Paul Doran (2002). Green on Red Gallery, Dublin. Translation of catalogue by Enrique Juncosa.
- Belfast Print Workshop (2016 – ). Running well-attended public drop-in print your own free linocut sessions at Open Studios and open day events, and other events for journalists and city councillors.
- Running my ‘Introduction to linocut’ course. Vault Artist Studios (2018 – )
- Running well-attended public drop-in print your own free linocut sessions at Open Studios and open day events.
- Running my ‘Introduction to linocut’ course Other (2016 – ).
- Running my linocut course at the Strand Arts Centre, Antrim Castle/Clotworthy House and Engage Art Studios Community workshops in Belfast.
- I collaborated with the ‘Siri’ women’s choir at The Crescent Arts Centre to produce new work for public exhibition (2017).
- I ran stencil workshops for groups, with author Jan Carson, from Ardmonagh Family & Community Group, Donegall Pass Community Centre, Link Centre Newtownards leading to a one-month public exhibition of the works for the 50th Anniversary at the QFT (2018)
- I worked with the Linenhall Library and Ballybeen Women’s Centre to help them produce a linocut-printed tapestry which will tour Northern Ireland (2019).
- I ran a 6 week linocut series through Eastside Visitor Centre for older people from care homes (2019).
- I ran 6 sessions with a group from Donegall Pass leading to an exhibition at Artcetera (2019/20).
- I ran a linocut workshop for a meeting of the East and West Belfast Men’s Shed groups at Connswater Shopping Centre (2020)
Blog & writing
- With my friend Sophie Hayles, we run a sporadic yet well-read blog on the arts and arts practitioners in Northern Ireland with a focus on those with international experience who have moved back here: http://www.abelfastblog.com
- Seeing my review of Elisabeth Magill’s exhibition on the blog, the VAI News Sheet contacted me to ask me to write a review of a Karen Daye-Hutchinson show at ArtisAnn Gallery, and a review of the ‘Multi-Matrix’ print symposium at The Mac, Belfast (published in Jun/Jul edition).
- I chaired the recent (March 2020) ‘Multi-Matrix’ print symposium at the The Mac and was asked to contribute a review of the event for the VAI Newssheet.