Friday 1 December 2023 – Friday 26 January 2024
painting by Joel Simon (detail) | Joel Simon: NOCTURNES | Friday 1 December 2023 – Friday 26 January 2024 | Atypical Gallery | Image: painting by Joel Simon (detail) | this cropped image of a painting shows a figure, front and centre but looking up and a bit to their left, with black shoulder-length hair and in a white dress cinched at the waist, and holding a brown suitcase with both hands; the streetscape behind appears to be at dusk, with lights and two vehicles; the surfaces are wet, with reflections

The University of Atypical is delighted to announce the unveiling of NOCTURNES, an extraordinary exhibition by acclaimed artist Joel Simon. The showcase opens to the public on Friday, December 1st, with a formal exhibition opening as part of the late-night art on Thursday, December 7th, at 6:00 pm. This captivating exhibition is a highlight of the 2023 International Day of Persons with Disabilities program, co-coordinated by the Department for Communities and University of Atypical.

Formal Exhibition Opening: Thursday, December 7th, 6 pm

Joel Simon, an artist with a rich background in film-making, unveils NOCTURNES as a series of narrative oil paintings. Drawing inspiration from the vibrant nightlife of Belfast, Simon’s exhibition captures the city’s metamorphosis into a cinematic tapestry during the late hours.

Reflecting on the genesis of the series, Simon shares, “After many late-night excursions through Belfast’s streets, I found myself captivated by the city’s transformation into a cinematic tapestry. The darkened alleys and hushed corners served as the muse for ‘NOCTURNES,’ where I aim to convey the heightened drama that cloaks this city, my home since 1995.”

Simon, a former director with over 50 international awards in the film and animation industry, has seamlessly transitioned into the world of oil painting. His narrative paintings exhibit cinematic compositions and stylized poses, a testament to his filmmaking background. “Through visual storytelling skills honed in my previous career, I explore mysterious narratives etched on strangers’ faces and woven into the urban fabric,” says Simon.

This marks Joel Simon’s first solo show in five years, inviting viewers to join him in imagining the untold stories of cohabitants and rediscovering the familiar cityscape. The exhibition promises a journey through Belfast’s nightlife, as seen through the eyes of an artist who has made the city his muse.

Prior to his career in oil painting, Joel Simon garnered acclaim in the film and animation industry as a director, collaborating with luminaries such as Seamus Heaney, Billy Connolly, and BBC’s Gerry Anderson. His transition to oil painting brought forth a fascination with narrative paintings, employing cinematic compositions and stylized poses to craft captivating visual stories.

Image: painting by Joel Simon (detail)
Friday 1 December 2023 – Friday 26 January 2024
Atypical Gallery
109 - 113 Royal Avenue
Belfast BT1 1FF
Telephone: +44 9023 9450
Opening hours / start times:
Tuesday 11:00 - 15:00
Wednesday 11:00 - 15:00
Thursday 11:00 - 15:00
Friday 11:00 - 15:00
Admission / price: Free

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