Paul Doran: Permission to Hope

22 June – 21 July 2020 Opening hours: 09:00–17:00 Monday–Friday, closed Saturday & Sunday)

Paul Doran has been described ‘as one of the best artistic talents that has come out of Belfast in years’. Doran’s work is his personal abstraction of contemporary life, painted on canvas. It has its own visual language of landscape, bio-form, mask, visual metaphor and edgy pun. Integrating the unconscious with a consciousness of the present Doran creates images that are challengingly relevant to the social moment. Doran’s art has impact. Paul says, ‘Belfast always comes into it one way or another, visible or not. You are who you are.’

In this exhibition Paul explores the concept of Hope, of which he says:

‘Hope is a state of mind based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to future events and circumstances in one’s life, or the world at large.  For many people, the definition of hope may have a spiritual context, a belief in a higher power to whom hopes are conveyed through prayer.  Others may vest their hope in socio-political and economical change for the better, others in personal achievements and relationships.  Hope is a mixed bag of aspiration, desire, expectation, optimism, trust and belief.  Hope allows us to imagine even slim possibilities.  Hope embraces the future as unwritten and only retrospectively can a hope be seen as a pipe dream, vain hope or false hope.  In dire situations we can hope beyond hope, hope against hope, see a glimmer of hope.  Dr Judith Rich contends,  ‘Hope is a match in a dark tunnel, a moment of light just enough to reveal the path ahead and ultimately the way out.’

Hope can help us manage stress and cope with adversity.  The positive feedback from incremental steps towards success confirms hope and affirms a sense of progress through life. The power of hope differentiates the psychological survivor and the psychological victim. Is hope a mindset, possibly an evolved instinct, the personal crux for thriving and surviving?​’