The Pattern Exchange at Temple Bar Gallery

February 2015
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06 February - 28 March 2015

Paul Bokslag, Sarah Browne, Gareth Kennedy, Sarah Lincoln, Fiona McDonald, Studio Weave

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.

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.