STRIFE – Claudia Rose and Kate O’Neill – Gallery 2

QSS is delighted to host STRIFE in Gallery 2, a duo exhibition by Claudia Rose and QSS artist Kate O’Neill from 7th – 28th March 2024 

Opening event: Thursday 7th March, 6-8:30pm. No booking required, please see the ‘visitor information’ section of our website for further details on visiting the gallery  

Exhibition Dates: 7th – 28th March 2024 

General opening hours: Monday – Thursday, 10am-5pm.

STRIFE by Kate O’Neill and Claudia Rose

Presenting STRIFE, a debut duo exhibition by Kate O’Neill and Claudia Rose that negotiates the domiciliary through a sculptural intersection of two didactic practices. O’Neill and Rose compose sculptural environments that insist feminised handicrafts are matters of generational and societal resistance. Utilising contemporary materiality to renegotiate and fabricate the domestic space. Setting a new dialogue amid socio-feminist narratives, forces the viewer into a perspective of involuntary voyeurism of the private sphere.

Influenced by feminist anthropological concerns, O’Neill and Rose intrude and undermine the domestic space. Anthropology which studies the theory of women, gender and feminist identity puts forward woman – as self, as other, as being, as individual. By the simple act of “re-authoring the work as by a woman” (Brice 2018), breaks down masculine-feminine archetypes. Generating a significant shift of power to identity, and power to visualisation, in the realms of artist to woman, to woman as maker.

STRIFE exhibits interpretations of woman as maker – upon home and craft – as a liminal space that commends the history of and immortalises it within materiality. This pseudo-monument to feminist legacies enables continuous dialogues and scrutiny of gender inequities in society. O’Neill and Rose demonstrate a brutal fragility in their artworks to demonstrate the “freeze, appease, mend, tend, befriend” (Williams 2016) response women exhibit to danger. The limitation on female freedom continues to validate evident societal male privilege.

Within the exhibition, the mummification of an undisclosed presence and the suffocation of the feminine, is visualised by absence – of self and of body. However as theorised by Drew Leder (1990) the spectators’ body is integral to experience of environment. The contemporary materiality is the nexus of what is perceived and what is experienced.


O’Neill and Rose manipulate tactile and visual perception, familiar objects in unnatural materials, evoking uncertainty. The absence created by O’Neill and Rose is alien to self, uncontrollable to body, obscured by the desire to attribute recognition and forgotten to others. O’Neill and Rose fashion an exhibition appeasing theoretic concerns: the exploration of domestic as an obscene identity – in which the feminine self is beyond patriarchal control. The dichotomy of a materialistically transient and functionally precarious installation awakens potential for physical and emotional responses. In the continuous threat to defy classification, the stereotypical gender roles i.e. women toward private spheres, men toward public spheres, a question is posed – how is conformity eradicated, if we are not allowed to embrace it?

O’Neill and Rose visual retort is to expose the hand of the artist. In a culture of technology, mass production and instantaneous gratification, the presentation of traditional handiwork – in form, texture, and space – performs metaphorically to illuminate without emphasising socio-cultural or socio-political agendas.  Strife (noun) is defined as (to have) an angry or bittersweet disagreement over fundamental issues or conflict. Kate O’Neill and Claudia Rose represent the definition through an act of rebellion on the domiciliary.


Kate O’Neill

Kate O’Neill is a Belfast-based artist, exploring space through drawing, sculpture, and installation. O’Neill has exhibited in Northern Ireland (Golden Thread Gallery, Queen Street Studios, Bangor Castle Walled Garden), Croatia (Pop-Up, Zagreb) and Poland (ISDT, Katowice). O’Neill was awarded the Creative Bursary Award 2023 by Belfast City Council. Graduating from Fine Art at the Belfast School of Art, O’Neill specialised in Sculpture and Lens. Previously studied traditional sculpture at the Academy of Fine Art in Zagreb, Croatia.O’Neill’s artwork attempts to solidify liminal space, the in-between, the forgotten.

Through an anthropological approach she explores the body’s place within the socio-cultural landscape. Perception and interaction within space is shaped by an individual’s identity, a significant component of which is gender. Motivated by feminist geography, O’Neill examines the effect of society’s gender binaries on behaviours, activities and experiences of a place.

“Our cities are patriarchy written in stone, brick, glass and concrete.” – Jane Darke (1996)

O’Neill creates artworks which defy patriarchal classification within the masculine/feminine archetypes in hopes of dismantling the sexual inequality embedded within visual language.

Claudia Rose

Claudia Rose’s (b.1995) sculptural practice deliberates concerns of self/other to self/identity through relationship of nostalgia, of phantasy, of mythology. Through visualisation upon narratives, Rose’s multi-disciplinary approach lures imagined realms of past and present to the fore. The observation of self emanates through somatic and tactile relation to environment, whilst, other emanates through disobedience upon reality. Summoning humanisation upon synthetic, Rose’s objects of comfort, of sanctuary and of familiarity often wander toward oblations for an omnipresent being that seeks refuge amid material interventions. Drawing inspiration from transient/dwelling spaces, the odyssey of recollection and aesthetic cultures that yield to exterior influence, Rose’s practice situates the imagined amid the commonplace. Through liminal spatiality toward contemplation of otherworlds and our world, the deliberation of materiality – the journey of purpose and longing – creates breathe upon its layered complexity. Rose’s practice highlights the collective desire to place sentience upon objects and spaces.


Mar 07 - 28 2024


QSS Gallery 2
2nd Floor, The Arches Centre, 11-13 Bloomfield Ave, Belfast BT5 5AA

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