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The Arch of the Flags

by daniel shiel

My photographic work explores the rich textures and patterns evident in everyday objects both natural and artificial; details often unseen or overlooked at first glance. The collected images provide the ‘materials’ or ‘pallets’ with which I explore and develop themes associated with the past, decay, absence, destruction and loss.
My professional training and career as an archaeologist is fundamental to and puts into context my photographic work. However, I can trace my preoccupations back to childhood holidays in Wales and Cornwall; walking in landscapes scarred by past mining and the ruins of agricultural change. For me these events have produced palpable sensations that have remained with me as I continue to walk, explore and look.
I have recently viewed my work in the context of psycho-geographical adventures into marginal and semi-abandoned areas. They often lie between or at the edge of the urban environment and the countryside.
I observe a world and, recording it, observe myself and my response to it; I’m present but feel an invisible observer. The locations require the absence of people, I’m looking for an atmosphere acutely affected by the knowledge that people have been present in the past, recently or will shortly return. So I exist in a space between these moments, observing absence.
Nowhere have these experiences been as rewarding as when, living in Dublin, I explored the lanes and passages running behind the terraces of the city’s inner suburbs. Here, city noise and activity are reduced to a background hum; buildings and settings are of human scale. The history of any city is the accumulated aspirations, decisions, actions and conflicts. This is not just the history of great events but the mundane details that appear to be of very little significance. They accumulate unnoticed but have a story to tell.
The landscapes and objects I photograph have ‘minor histories’; from their creation to destruction, from usefulness to supersession and final abandonment. A process delayed by repair and recycling; acts further enriching their ‘history’ and increasing the complexity of their appearance.
Using photographic collage I attempt to define and express the uncertain sensations and the often quite magical response I experience during my explorations. I extract specific details from photographic images, isolating them from their original context. These provide ‘materials’ or ‘pallets’ which I combine into fresh and unfamiliar landscapes that emphasise the essence or perspectives I experience. The resulting structures may have a surrealist quality; become remote landscapes and settings of questionable and unsettling perspective and narrative.
2013               Best Shots, Photographic Competition & Exhibition, Prize Winner,The Station, Richmond, UK
2013               Aesthetica Art Prize, Longlisted & St Mary’s York, UK.
2013               Borders @ Gallery 23, arteriagallery23, Lancaster, UK
2012               Salon 2012, South Square Gallery, Thornton, UK
2012               £40 Show, Cupola Gallery, Sheffield, UK
2012               Calderdale Open Art Exhibition, Prize Winner, Smith Art Gallery, Brighouse, UK 
2012               Another Spot on the Wall, The Station, Richmond, UK
2012               Art In The Pen, Skipton, UK
2012               Artweek, Mountfield, Holmfirth, UK
2012               Artweek, Civic Hall, Holmfirth, UK
2012               Derbyshire Open Studios, Whitehouse Farm, Staffordshire,
2012               Saltaire Open Houses, Saltaire, UK
2012               America: North and South, Mill Bridge Gallery, Skipton, UK
2011               Northern Freeze, Mill Bridge Gallery, Skipton, UK
2011               Opening Exhibition, Mill Bridge Gallery, Skipton, UK
2011               Art In The Pen, Skipton, UK
2011               Artweek,Civic Hall, Holmfirth UK
2011               Saltaire Open Houses, Saltaire, UK
2011               Copy/Paste – 2D Art, Shine Business Centre, Leeds, UK
2011               Joint Exhibition, The Butterfly Rooms, Saltaire, UK
2009               RegalArt09, Espai D'Art Miquela Nicolau, Felanitx, Mallorca
2009               Paper, Gallery Zipp, Sante Fe, New Mexico, USA
2009               SuperMassiveBlackHole Magazine, Issue 1, Ireland
2008               Art Nadal08, Espai D'Art Miquela Nicolau, Felanitx, Mallorca

Art and Makers Festival

Cromford Mills,


Start date: 06-Jul-2013
End date: 07-Jul-2013

Cromford Mills 10am - 4pm

Follow the art trail, meet the artists and browse a diverse selection of quality artwork.
An Art Trail Guide will be available from The Shop in the Yard during the weekend with most work exhibited available to purchase.
Art and Craft Demonstrations


Best Shots

The Station,

Start date: 14-Jul-2013
End date: 08-Sep-2013

Exhibition Tour

The judging is over and the Best Shots' finalists have beem selected. Preparations for the Best Shots Exhibition and UK Tour are now taking place.

The fun begins with an eight-week summer exhibition for all 100 finalists held at The Station, in Richmond, North Yorkshire.

This award-winning facility has become one of the region's most popular attractions for food, film and free exhibitions of art and photography. In fact more than 350,000 visitors a year from all over the world enjoy this magnificent historic public space. The Station is open all day, every day.

Art in the Pen 2013

Skipton Auction Mart,

Start date: 17-Aug-2013
End date: 18-Aug-2013

Set in Skipton cattle auction at the foot of the Yorkshire Dales, Art in the Pen transforms 100 sheep and cow pens into art stalls selling art in all its forms.  Spend a lovely day out browsing and buying a most diverse range of art for every budget, plus meet the local and national artists in a friendly and welcoming setting.  Read more about the event here.