Artists on the Rise Pop-up | Group Show at Gallery 545 at the Harrison


Artists on the Rise Pop-up | Group Show at Gallery 545 at the Harrison Date/Time
Date(s) - 05/11/2021 - 05/12/2021

Gallery 545 at the Harrison Chambers of Distinction




Open on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays 10.30am-5.30pm & Sundays 1-5.30pm

Opening reception – Friday 5 November, 4-8pm

Exhibition Virtual Tour on Instagram Sunday – 7 November, 12noon

Online at – always open

Gallery 545 is thrilled to join forces with the Harrison Chambers of Distinction to present a group of artists on the rise based in Northern Ireland. A curated selection of their unique paintings will be on display in a beautiful room in the quirky hotel in Belfast. Viewers will have the opportunity to discover and appreciate art in this welcoming and relaxing interior setting.

‘Artists on the Rise Pop-up’ features six accomplished emerging painters: Ronan Bowes, Karl Hagan, Janet Keith, Rachel Lawell, Joel Simon and Katherine St Angelo. They have encountered recognition for their artistic merit in Northern Ireland and beyond, with their work being awarded, included in public collections, or exhibited at high profile venues. This exhibition brings the artists together for the first time, to showcase and spread the word about their talent.

All these painters create original works with a distinctive quality, exploring and drawing upon different themes and traditions and adopting their own style. Ronan depicts vibrant abstract paintings, colourful and harmonious compositions with bold gestural marks. Karl has made intriguing semi-figurative images of nuclear explosions, capturing at the same time their terrible destructive power and their captivating visual spectacle. Janet’s works are lively and carefully balanced abstract paintings inspired by the colours, lights and shapes of nature and the rhythms of music. Katherine’s pieces are intense atmospheric semi-abstract landscapes evoking the forms of natural surroundings and the emotional experience of being immersed in them. Rachel portrays charismatic self-absorbed female figures revisiting and challenging traditional representations of women in cinema and popular culture. Finally, Joel’s work is inspired by films too, but also by photography, and he paints intriguing subjects trying to capture their personalities and stories.

This exhibition is a joint initiative by Francesca Biondi, Gallery 545 Art Director and Curator, and Melanie Harrison, Owner of the Harrison Chambers of Distinctions. Their collaboration has been inspired and guided by their passion for art, and their desire to promote local artists and offer clients and visitors a unique art experience.

Artworks can also be viewed at They can be purchased at Gallery 545, online or in person. For sales and enquiries, contact Francesca / 07960 130414.

Visiting the exhibition in person – No booking required. There will be measures in place to keep visitors safe (subject to government regulations). The number of people allowed in the space is 8-10.

More information about Gallery 545, the Harrison Chambers of Distinctions, and the artists in the sections below. For further details contact Francesca Biondi.

Gallery 545, Blick Studios, 51 Malone Road, Belfast BT6 0HF, / 07960 130414

Image: Ronan Bowes, Adaptation, 2021, oil, acrylic, aerosol paint, oil bar, on canvas, 152 x 158 cm (detail)



‘I am excited and grateful to collaborate with Melanie and the artists on this very special art event. With this pop-up I wish to support these exceptional emerging artists, who often have less opportunities to showcase their work and be appreciated at this stage of their career. I also wish to reach art lovers so that they can discover or find out more about new talents here. The Harrison is the perfect place for this event, its elegant and spacious rooms and its charming atmosphere make it an ideal space to display art and welcome visitors to see it. Melanie, a true art lover, made it possible to happen at the Harrison.’ Francesca Biondi

About Gallery 545 – Gallery 545 is an online and pop-up gallery specialising in contemporary art of Northern Ireland and offering a special selection of affordable artworks created by talented artists based here. The gallery celebrates the creativity of emerging and more established artists across the region and supports their practice providing a curated platform where they can showcase and sell their works. Having an online presence, but also pop-up exhibitions at its premises and other physical venues, the gallery brings art to a wide range of people with different tastes and budgets who love contemporary art, and makes it easier for them to access, discover and collect art works.

About the Harrison Chambers of Distinction – The Harrison Chambers of Distinction are an award-winning hotel. Owner Melanie Harrison restored and transformed a landmark Victorian merchants’ residence into a quirky boutique hotel. She has expertly woven past and present into an individual celebration of a city like no other. Each room combines pieces collected by Melanie over many years with the very best facilities that the 21st-century traveller demands and expects. Huge bay windows, antique furniture, sumptuous velvet curtains and eccentric curios and surprises combine elegance with underlying mischief and tongue-in-cheek humour – every room has its own story and distinct personality.


Ronan Bowes is an award-winning painter. He has extensively exhibited in Northern Ireland, England, Australia and USA, and his works are held in private collections here and abroad. He lived and worked in New York for many years, and in 2019 he relocated to his hometown Omagh. Bowes creates abstract paintings and objects drawing inspiration from his own experiences and reflections on society. The construction, deconstruction and reconstruction of studio materials are also core thoughts guiding his artistic process.

Karl Hagan is a very talented emerging artist. He was artist in residence at the Ulster University and his works are held in public collections, including the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s. He creates unique pieces exploring the atrocities caused by conflicts and the use of dangerous weapons. In his captivating figurative or abstract paintings these atrocities are not explicitly represented, but they are subtly evoked or even hinted, thus leaving the works open to different interpretations.

Janet Keith is an award-winning emerging artist. She has extensively exhibited both in Northern Ireland and England, her paintings are in several private collections around the world, and recently they have been bought for the public collection of the NI Civil Service. Her work takes inspiration from the tangle of nature, landscapes near and far and music of all kinds, and her approach to painting is intuitive and non-representational. Some of her pieces are completely abstract compositions while others may suggest a landscape.

Rachel Lawell is a successful emerging artist specialising in fine art painting, and she has exhibited at many high-profile galleries across Ireland. Her work is highly influenced by film and the portrayal of the female form in cinema.  In her paintings she examines and challenges traditional images of women as passive objects and spectacle for the ‘male gaze’, representing them instead as confident, strong or self-absorbed.

Joel Simon is a very talented versatile artist. He has built a successful career as a designer and animation director, winning over fifty international awards. In recent years he has also developed his career as a painter, and his work has been showcased at high profile exhibitions in Northern Ireland (Royal Ulster Academy, Belfast International Festival). Making a transition to oil painting, Joel became fascinated with the idea of capturing and conveying his subjects’ stories and emotions using this new medium.

Katherine St Angelo is an accomplished and versatile artist. Her paintings and mixed media works have been exhibited in numerous shows in Northern Ireland and are held in private collections and the collections of the World Museum, Liverpool and the Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast.  She creates figurative or semi-abstract landscapes that are a portrayal of her memories, encapsulating moments in time, thoughts, feelings and emotions.


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