exhibition Details

Qi Chen & Robbie E. Lawrence

PhD exhibition

January 11-26, 2024

Opening Reception 

Thursday, January 11, 6-8pm

Gallery Hours

Mon-Fri 9:30am-5:00pm


+353 65 7077200

Qi Chen

Qi Chen is a Chinese artist living in Ireland and undertaking a PhD at Burren College of Art, National University of Ireland, Galway. Qi holds an undergraduate degree from the Art College of Renmin University of China where he completed a Bachelor of Painting and Calligraphy in 2008. He also went on to complete a Masters in 2012 from the China Academy of Fine Arts, and in 2017 a master’s degree in the History of Art from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Before attending the University of Edinburgh, he worked as an artist in Hunan Painting Academy and a Chinese Calligraphy teacher in Hunan Normal University.  


Qi is interested in portrait painting and documentary film. His research focuses on the combination of portrait, text and documentary film to question or collapse subjective distance between people from different cultures in order to enhance mutual understanding. He draws on Chinese silk with ink and combines these drawings with documentary videos to reflect conflicts and misunderstandings between different ideologies and identities. These pieces challenge the viewer to rethink themselves and their boundaries. His idea originates from what has happened with historical conflicts and what is happening globally in the world today. It is a reflection and commentary on how war starts, how humanity is separated from each other, and misunderstanding between different religions, nationalities, and identities. 

Robbie E. Lawrence

Robbie was born in the United States, but currently resides in the west of Ireland. Her practice is formed by observational and turn of the 20th-century painting and drawing techniques, using mimicry to investigate objects and people around her. Robbie received her bachelor’s degree at MICA and later studied with ateliers in Italy and France, learning careful techniques able to record moments of storied depth and sensitivity. Her paintings aim to create quiet, delicate, and contemplative spaces for critical reflection.

Her research explores relevant philosophical psychology and historical literature in order to understand the modern death denial in Western society, specifically focusing on the phenomena of psychic numbing and its relationship to avoidant behaviour and related social systemic causation regarding death, dying, and the dead body.

Through this, she developed a studio research method that expanded understanding via experimentation. The approach recontextualised the painting (as a noun) as a space for critical reflection on fear of death through its application as an object in relation to the body and the painting (as a verb) as an exercise inspired by Blanchot’s cadaver in Two versions of the imaginary via the use of the historic en grisaille technique, allowing the painting (as both a noun and a verb) to be an exercise in middle knowledge: a state of complete repudiation and acceptance of death.

This work aims to assist in the development of psychic imagery beyond death denial (and psychic numbing) behaviour in that it may present an opportunity for the realisation of said behaviour by the viewer or provide the opportunity for more advanced critical reflection on the viewer’s relationship with death, dying, and the death body.