The Ulster Museum is free of charge and is at stop #17 on the Belfast City Sightseeing tour route. They have some excellent exhibitions throughout 2015 that you should have a look at if you are in Belfast this year. Remember that the Botanic Gardens is right beside the museum and is lovely for a stroll around at any time of the year.
New Art Nature Exhibition
10:00 – 17:00, Friday 10 October 2014 – Sunday 28 June 2015
This exhibition, largely drawn from the Ulster Museum collection, looks at the role of nature in the work of Irish and International artists over the past seventy years.
The display begins with the Oceania textiles (1946) made by Matisse at the end of his career, when illness prevented him from painting. The ‘cut-out’ forms are designed to give a sense of the limitless freedom, lightness and space he had experienced when swimming in the South Seas in 1930. Matisse referred to ‘the irrepressibility of nature’ and this theme was taken up by William Scott in The Four Seasons Mural, (1959-62) for Altnagelvin Hospital, in which he translated the cyclical rhythms of the seasons into a highly accomplished abstract composition.
Nature as a potent, even overpowering, force is alluded to in Segura (2010), a video installation by Willie Doherty made in the Murcia region of southern Spain. The exhibition closes with two new acquisitions by Tyrone artist William McKeown (1962-2011). Untitled (2008) (Art Fund Grant 2014) is a luminous, abstract evocation of the sense of joyousness the artist experienced when looking at a light drenched early morning sky. This poetic response and sense of reverie is also present in Waiting for the Corncrake (2008) a series of delicate, atmospheric watercolours presented to the Ulster Museum by the artist’s estate in memory of William McKeown’s important contribution to Irish art.
Elements: From Actinium to Zirconium
10:00 – 17:00, Friday 7 March 2014 – Sunday 28 February 2016
Elements are the basic building materials of matter. They make up everything that you can see or feel around you, and a lot that you can’t. From microscopic viruses to vast galaxies – and you too – all are made from elements. With about 90 natural elements existing all across the universe including here on Earth, a few more have been made in nuclear reactors and laboratories. In this exhibition, you can find out where the elements were made, how they occur naturally, what they look like, how we use them, and why they can be dangerous!
The Age of Liberty
10:00 – 17:00, open until Sunday 19 April 2015
Step into the wardrobe of the early 1900s as women were freed from their corset and unleashed into an age of liberty. Admire beautiful fabrics and elegant embellishments of exquisite gowns with an exhibition that showcases the rich and exotic opulence of a glamorous silhouette.
Order and Revolution
10:00 – 17:00, open until Sunday 26 April 2015
Explore a ‘golden age’ in British and Irish art from 1740 to 1840. Portraits by Reynolds, Gainsborough and Lawrence are displayed alongside landscape paintings, sculpture and furniture to recreate the elegance of the age. So all in all there is plenty of options to suit any interest and it is a great place to get out of any rain!