My practice makes use of the capabilities of painting within an expanded field, exploring the painting as an object rather than an image, and challenging restrictive structures often associated with painting practice. I am as interested in deconstruction as reconstruction, questioning the very concept of the structures and surfaces on which paintings exist, and in which painting as a subject exists.

The pieces delve into means of portraying a non-binary position in painting, finding grounds to visually explore gender outside of gender through abstraction. Painting is caught up in this push and pull between femininity and masculinity, and what these mean iconically. Identifying as non-binary, I find myself stuck in this whirlwind of tropes, questioning where a painter like me fits amongst the history of painting. As such, my work attempts to be a mediator within this divide.

To allow me the freedom necessary to explore this niche subject matter, my practice has many facets. Paint is applied with polarising opposition; a heavy impasto mark achieved with poly filler or a unified coat of spray paint. My use of assemblage, found objects and installation techniques signify the framework of Modernism, employed within the contemporary era. We live in a plural society, one which I argue is the starting point for enforcing new ideas about representations of gender as a whole as within art.

Queer art has often been predicated on the literal nature of LGBTQ themes and bodies, following the idea that representation is a form of liberation. I don’t express my gender identity through body – except by the performative connotations in the work. 


Mollie Balshaw is based at Islington Mill in Salford, and is a Gallery Assistant at AIR Gallery in Altrincham. She studied BA Fine Art (First Class Honours) at the University of Salford from 2016 - 2019. In 2018 she was highly commended in the Visual Arts category at The 10th Global Undergraduate Awards. Recently she was awarded a 12-month Graduate Scholarship with the University of Salford and Castlefield Gallery, and was also shortlisted for the Create Student Awards 2019 in the Art & Design category. Exhibitions include Micro at AIR Gallery, Altrincham, The Open at Salford Museum and Art Gallery and the 20:20 Print Exchange 2018 which toured at Neo Gallery, Bolton, Highland Print Studio, Inverness, Blackstack Studio, Kilkenny and The Moscow Studio, Moscow.


Familiar with the contemporary arts scene in the North West, she contributes articles and reviews to sites such as Culture Calling and Cotton On Manchester, encouraging audiences to engage with contemporary art and the creative community in the North.

 © 2019 Mollie Balshaw

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