Amy Higgins


5 – 26 November 2021

Amy Higgins has a BA Hons and Masters of Fine Art awarded by the Ulster University and is currently studying a PGCHE in the Creative Disciplines through the Glasgow School of Art. Higgins received a distinction for her Masters degree wherein she developed ideas around Barbara Creed’s Monstrous Feminine and Hannah Arendt’s notions around the Human Condition. Her work has made a recent shift into the idea of a metaphysical place and the awareness of position in viewing the artwork. Dark palettes are utilised with reference to Dutch masters to mirror the darkness of the subject. Her practice is based around the subconscious, the sublime with an idea around the viewer and the “embodiment of looking”. Higgins often questions how one can disconcert the viewer through use of the canvases insinuated “planes” and spaces. She often makes work with geometric shapes and strong grid-like lines, she believes this helps to underline the main theories and ideas she investigates. The worked-up image is an attempt at being uncertain in terms of a fragmentation and break up of linear spatial descriptions that are convergent, divergent, cross-cutting and parallel.

“Extended” has developed from Higgins’ recent show Bruxism (QSS 4th – 28th October) which itself was born over years, stemming from the artists interest in various theories and ideas around the subconscious, state of sleep, nightmares, mental health, claustrophobia, the Powers of Horror and the abject. The border between life and death.

“Bruxism” was created through a dark lens. Sleep terrors and nightmares have influenced a lot of the focus with the hallucinatory, bizarre or frightening imagery. Night terrors (which tend to happen during periods of arousal from delta sleep, or slow-wave sleep), people are usually described as “bolting upright” with their eyes wide open and a look of fear and panic on their faces. They will often yell, scream, or attempt to speak, though such speech is often incomprehensible. A condition the artist experiences that has evolved into a subject of intrigue in the context of Art and installation.

“Bruxism” is a term for grinding teeth in your sleep, something the artist has suffered for a long time. Teeth grinding is an action of the subconscious; an unsettling, traumatic act that can create the pressure of the weight of a horse on the jaw; an powerful, internal feat that has a heavy presence in the work. Built around this motif, other elements come into the fold; the Sublime, the Monstrous Feminine, the Theatre of Cruelty.