In short, no pattern is an isolated entity. Each pattern can exist in the world, only to the extent that is supported by other patterns: the larger patterns in which it is embedded, the patterns of the same size that surround it, and the smaller patterns which are embedded in it.
- A Pattern Language, Christopher Alexander, 1977
The Pattern Exchange is an exhibition, guest curated by Rosie Lynch and Hollie Kearns, which presents existing work from Irish artists Sarah Browne, Gareth Kennedy, Sarah Lincoln and Fiona McDonald, with new commissions by Paul Bokslag (IE/NL) and architecture practice Studio Weave (UK). Taking pattern as a form by which to discern or understand the systems operating in both natural and urban landscapes; in knowledge, material production, labour and movement; the work presented here reflects the ongoing
observations and study of isolated patterns by these individual artists.
Each artist presents works which represent a moment of public presentation within an ongoing body of work or research. Each of the artists presenting existing work will also present a public event, screening or talk during the run of the exhibition, to further unfold the public moments within the ongoing bodies of research and work that they present here. This exhibition intends to open up aspects of artistic and design practice through this active programme of events.
The planning for this exhibition had begun with a consideration of the Temple Bar Gallery + Studios building, built up as part of historic urban development along Dublin’s Liffey, as a one-time shirt factory, and a building which is currently used for artistic production and presentation. London based architects Studio Weave were invited to rethink the threshold of the gallery, and have developed a rope infrastructure for welcoming visitors, and furniture for use in the gallery throughout the exhibition. The designers choice of rope was as a material reflecting Dublin’s marine heritage.
Fiona McDonald presents a series of new and existing work from her ongoing research into the changing landscape of Dublin city through the introduction of the Great South Wall in the 18th century, and it’s current physical, political and conceptual location in the city. Walking the Wall (2015) is a series of slide images that map a walk from the East Wall Bridge out to the Poolbeg lighthouse, along the original 5.6km of the Great South Wall. The images presented from this walk detail obstructions by which public access to the Great South Wall is restricted. From it’s construction, a massive feat of 18th century engineering, the wall was used by the public for leisurely walks and was structure of pride for the city. Mapping: Public Access (2015) maps the shrinking public access, increased privatisation increased privatisation, and physical vulnerability of the Great South Wall. 2015 Mapping Levels (2015) further charts a recently emerging pattern of physical and material decay of physical and material decay.Towards the end of the exhibition, in late March, McDonald will lead an intimate public walk along the Great South Wall, pointing out some these features and historic interest.
An encounter with historical images of women on the Shetland Islands simultaneously walking, knitting and carrying turf, led Sarah Browne to undertake an extensive project exploring this unexpected precedent to contemporary patterns of precarious labour and subsistence economies. During the exhibition Browne presents extracts from this body of work in two stages. Zero Hour Contract (2013), is a modified clock that highlights a work culture of informal and unguaranteed hours and conditions which produces unsettling emotional and physical effects. The Shetland Islands knitting belt, still in common use today, is the tool used that enables a knitter to fix one needle in place, anchored to the body, and free the second hand to partake in other tasks simultaneously. A second stage of this larger body of work is introduced in the latter half of the exhibition. Hand to Mouth (2014) is a series of woven pieces that materially splice together the historical images of women on the Shetland Islands with contemporary stock photographs of women digitally multitasking. One hundred years apart, laptops, mobile phones and children have come to replace knitting needles and turf baskets as attachments to the bodies of the women pictured, revealing similar conflicts between aspirations of autonomy and experiences of vulnerability and strain.
Sarah Browne will present a late night screening of Nightcleaners, by Berwick Street Collective (1972-75) in association with LUX. This documentary, made by members of the Berwick Street Collective (Marc Karlin, Mary Kelly, James Scott and Humphry Trevelyan), is about the campaign to unionize the isolated and underpaid women who cleaned London office blocks at night. This will be a moment to open up public conversation with Browne’s research into experiences of time, speed and endurance in relation to labour practices.
IKEA Butter Churn for Gneeveguilla (2011) was the first iteration of the Folk Fictions series (2011-2013) which artist Gareth Kennedy has worked on with communities across the west of Ireland, to create ‘fictional customs’, using local skill sets to produce locally specific objects with materials from the global market. Commissioned as a Per Cent for Art project, IKEA Butter Churn for Gneeveguilla enabled Kennedy to work with the people of Gneeveguilla, Co. Kerry to develop and enact an invented tradition for the village.
Drawing on local skill-sets, a butter churn was manufactured from IKEA table and shelf for use in a public event in which a significant proportion of the village came out to churn a large pat of butter. The butter was then packed in a firkin, handcrafted from another IKEA table and ceremoniously buried in the bog to become preserved as bog butter. This whole process was filmed on super8 and this is presented in the gallery.
Gareth Kennedy’s public presentation will detail a field trip and performative action at the Bog of Allen in March 2015. Working with the Experimental Archaeology department in UCD, Kennedy will lead students and academic staff in an ‘anachronistic’ burial of wooden objects in the bog, exploring his interest in what he terms ‘critical anachronism’, from IKEA Butter Churn for Gneeveguilla, to his current work. This discussion will be in collaboration with an archaeologist to open up this field of research and it’s impact on Kennedy’s practice.
how we float (2014) is a digital film work from Sarah Lincoln’s RAFT series, highlights a moment of public presentation in Ardmore, Co. Waterford in August 2014. Lincoln has been engaged in research into the decline of the fishing industry in this area and an ongoing body of work in response to this. Much of Lincoln’s recent work has been concerned with knowledge of a landscape first gained and then lost through the decline of land and sea based industries in the 20th and 21st century in Ireland. Lincoln will use her public event to stage a performative lecture Other Slippages: a short presentation on erosion in which she will respond to particular remnants of both industry, erosion and archaeological remnants along this stretch of Co. Waterford shoreline.
Paul Bokslag’s large-scale paper cut reveals an aesthetic of pattern responding to the architecture of Temple Bar Gallery + Studios and to a broader understanding of pattern that relates to the exhibition. As an installation of six single sheets of paper, Resonance describes space rather than physically occupying it. Its elliptical features echo the architectural pattern of the atrium in the central space of the building. The vertical flowing gestures are the result of a slow process of adding freehand cuts; continuous variations within the same visual vocabulary. Bokslag has also designed a new font for the exhibition which can be downloaded for free on the gallery website as a further public gesture.
Rosie Lynch will lead a public discussion, presenting the work in relation to the specificity of Dublin city, and Hollie Kearns will introduce Living in a Coded Land, (2014) directed by Irish filmmaker Pat Collins as a final public event within this active programme. It is seen that in this way, traditionally peripheral aspects of exhibition making; screenings, talks, design, gallery information and hospitality will be unfolded through a series of presentation to observe and connect the patterns which order the human, physical and cultural landscapes that we live in.
The Pattern Exchange Typeface
The Pattern Exchange Typeface, Fontfille 2015, is a modular display font designed by Paul Bokslag as part of the exhibition.
Independent curators Rosie Lynch and Hollie Kearns work collaboratively out of a shared office at Callan Workhouse, Co. Kilkenny, where they are engaged in a number of projects towards developing a semi-derelict wing of the Workhouse into a new facility with shared artistic, design, research and community facilities. Current and recent projects include Nimble Spaces (2013-2014), a long-term process of collaboration between artists, architects and adults with an intellectual disability, Forecast (2014), a project looking anew at five rural towns in Co. Kilkenny and Workhouse Assembly (2013), a twelve-day participative research workshop exploring the complex social history and future development possibilities of a semi-derelict wing of the Callan Workhouse. Upcoming projects include Workhouse Union (2015), a year-long artistic programme of new artist commissions, and a public programme of activities at Callan Workhouse. In early 2015, Rosie and Hollie will undertake a residency with National Sculpture Factory in Cork as seasonal ‘Im/Plants’.
Paul Bokslag (b. 1969, Vlaardingen, the Netherlands) studied at University of Applied Sciences Leiden and moved to Co. Kilkenny in 1999 to co-found the inclusive KCAT Art & Study Centre where he still works as a tutor and facilitator. Paul has had solo exhibitions at Garter Lane Arts Centre, Waterford; Abhainn Rí Festival, Callan; Signal Arts Centre, Bray and Watergate Gallery, Kilkenny. Waking Up in Waterford, his most recent solo show at University Hospital Waterford was curated by Waterford Healing Arts Trust and followed a narrative from trauma towards recovery. Selected group shows include Éigse Open 2009, Carlow; The Wood Between the Worlds, Occupy Space, Limerick; RHA Annual 2012, Dublin; Running with Scissors, Basement Project Space, Cork; Between Lines, Signal Arts Centre, Bray; The Journeys We Make, Junction Festival, Clonmel; Verbinding/Connection, CWS, Terpkerk Urmond, the Netherlands and Dunamaise Open 2014, Portlaoise.
Sarah Browne’s research-driven practice investigates the materiality of how we communicateand create meaning through economies of transaction and exchange. Recent solo exhibitions include Hand to Mouth, CCA Derry~Londonderry and Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, and The Invisible Limb, basis, Frankfurt (all 2014). In 2009 she co-represented Ireland at the 53rd Venice Biennale with Gareth Kennedy and their collaborative practice, Kennedy Browne. She is currently working with Jesse Jones on a major collaborative commission for Create, Ireland and Artangel, UK, investigating the role of the female body in the construction of the Nation State. Other forthcoming projects include a residency and exhibition with the Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt and a commission for Manual Labours, London, exploring the condition of the complaining body in contemporary working environments. She currently lectures at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin.
Gareth Kennedy's work explores the social agency of the handcrafted in the 21st century and generates 'communities of interest' around the production and performance of new material cultures. His research draws on the particular social, cultural and economic histories of a location. Outcomes typically include architectural structures, handmade objects, films, and events which bring these artefacts to life within public contexts. Kennedy's practice includes public art work, workshops, exhibitions, residencies and collaborations realised nationally and internationally. In 2009, he co-represented Ireland at the 53rd Venice Biennale. Recent manifestations of his work include creating an 'invented tradition' from IKEA furnitures for a village in County Kerry, touring his exhibition Folk Fiction in Ireland and a public art work in Saint Petersberg, Russia (2011-2013). In 2014 he produced The Uncomfortable Science with ar/ge Kunst Gallerie Museum in Bolzano, Northern Italy, and Post Colony, a film project in Killarney National Park about invasive Rhododendron.
Visual artist Sarah Lincoln is based in Ardmore, Co. Waterford, where she works on a number of projects seeking to engage with the landscape from a historical and social perspective. She has worked in collaboration with communities through a video project, Faint Echo (2014) and through a screen-based project called RAFT (2013- 2014), which responds to the various uses being made of Ardmore Bay. Her work has been included in Claremorris Open (2013, 2008), Éigse (2012) and in EVA (2010). Sarah graduated from NCAD in 2004 with a joint degree in Fine Art/ Art History, she holds an MA from IADT in Visual Arts Practice and writes for Enclave Review and Critique.
Fiona McDonald is an architect and artist whose spatial practice attempts to expand our awareness of socio-economic development associated with place. In particular McDonald’s research is concerned with sites under pressure of functional, social, political, economic and physical transformation. Her work explores the potential inherent in alternative considerations of space, materials and economic exchange. Her practice operates in the public domain by making drawings, films and architectural interventions that are site-specific and address history, experience, temporalities and functional use.
Studio Weave is an award-winning London-based architecture practice set up in 2006. They balance a joyful, open-minded approach with technical precision to create a diverse body of work in the UK and abroad for public, private and commercial clients. Studio Weave value idiosyncrasies. From the characteristics that make somewhere unique, to the particular skills of a master craftsperson; the studio aims to harness the strengths of a project and its team to create something distinctive and of exceptional quality. Studio Weave’s work has been acknowledged by a number of awards including three RIBA awards where Ecology of Colour won South East Building of the Year 2013, the Architectural Review’s International Emerging Architecture Awards and the Civic Trust Awards where The Longest Bench won the Special Award for Community Impact and Engagement. Studio Weave is currently working on a number of on-going projects in Callan, Co. Kilkenny.