in-between-ness: using art to capture a sense of self


Karen Heald and Susan Liggett


6 September – 15 November 2013

Private View: 6 September, 5-7pm

Have a look at pictures from the Private View in our online gallery.


An exhibition of paintings, film stills and moving image by contemporary artists Karen Heald and Susan Liggett. 


in-between-ness is an innovative exploration of the effect that art has on the way that people express themselves and respond to their environment whilst undergoing treatment for mental health problems. 


The works displayed are the result of a collaborative study between professional artists, clinical researchers and people suffering from depression to explore the experiential effects of antidepressant treatment. 


The exhibition also brings together the artists’ individual and collaborative artworks, exploring their relationship to being in-between, and aims to capture a sense of self brought about by a prolonged engagement in the creative process.


For Karen, in-between-ness originates from her dream films that create ambient environments, where the audience is unsure as to whether one is asleep, awake, or even in a state of in-between-ness. Using video work, Karen’s research identifies in-between-ness and the resulting 'dream films' are representations of the ephemeral and transitional spaces of the mind: the imaginary, states between wakefulness and sleep, reverie, the unconscious and layers of consciousness, such as that of the creative or the depressive and psychotic who travels between several time zones simultaneously. Through painterly, poetic non-linear video narratives, these transitional spaces are played out.


Susan relates in-between-ness to her concept of psychological resonance and the distillation of experience over time. It is within the intervals of her painting that she begins to contemplate in-between-ness, in the hesitation of the brush marks and the reliability of her memory. Her memories do not simply recall the events, but reside in-between the past and the present in a fragmentary space akin to Heald’s dream spaces. They deal with the sense of joy and loss, and the emotions we have while journeying in the past when looking through family photographs.


Karen Heald is an artist, filmmaker and academic researcher whose artwork has evolved out of working site-specifically and on international residencies. 


Susan Liggett is an artist and Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Glyndŵr University. A practising painter since the late 1980s, she has a particular interest in traditional oil painting materials.


Recent collaborative exhibitions include: Videoformes, Trinity Church, Salford (2012); The Vending Machine, Serra dei Giardini and the Contemporary Art Galleria Perela, Venice (2011); Visualising the Invisible, Glyndŵr University, Wrexham (2010).  


in-between-ness formed part of ITA13, the fifth biennial international conference on Internet Technologies and Applications, taking place at Glyndŵr University from 10 – 13 September 2013. The artists contributed a paper that explores how contemporary artists collaborate and how new technologies have challenged the relationship between traditional and new media in a way that has resulted in innovative collaborative opportunities with scientists, citing this artwork on display as an example. Further information can be found at 


'Paper Interior' still from video installation, Karen Heald and Susan  Liggett (2013)
'The Yellow Cardigan' oil on board, 37.5 x 55 cm, Susan Liggett (2013)
'Poesy' still from video installation, Daisy Farris and Karen Heald (2012)