NADA New York
5 - 8 May 2022
Tessa Lynch, Selfie LA, 2013
wood (poplar), acrylic paint, 18 x 12 x 3 in
Tessa Lynch’s booth for Patricia Fleming at NADA New York introduces the artist’s creative process, suspended between performance art, sculpture and print-making. A set of 16 collagraph and relief-printing plates, Made on the Table, is joined by two of Lynch’s Selfie sculptures, suggesting pencil sketches rendered in wood. To the fore rests the metal-plated Tote Bag, stuffed with a cagoule and with fake-rain coating—like the detritus of a day’s urban wandering. Together, these pieces reflect Lynch’s long-held concerns with expressing the relationship between civic planning, architecture, access and emotional response, while emphasising forms of hidden and collaborative labour, including that undertaken by women.
Born in Epsom, England in 1984, Lynch graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2007 with a BA in Tapestry, receiving her MFA from Glasgow School of Art in 2013. She has exhibited widely since then in both group and solo institutional shows, sometimes working as part of collaborations such as Gabecare (with Rachel Adams). Recalling the spirit of classic post-conceptual collective actions such as those realised through Cal Arts’ Feminist Art Program, Lynch weaves across and between the boundaries separating artistic creation from domestic and manual work. Pieces such as Anouk, Kristina, Lily, Louise, Martyna, Megan, Rachel & Tessa (Plug) (2019, with Rachel Adams), a bathroom plug enclosed in a large circular rug made from concentric rings of coloured, woven bed linen, celebrate sites of invisible domestic toil such as the bathroom and the kitchen, making them objects of homage and conceptual rumination.
Tessa Lynch & Rhona Warwick Paterson, NIKI/NIKI, 2021
board, note paper, pen, vinyl, varnish, ink trace, 21 x 15cm
Tessa Lynch & Rhona Warwick Paterson, Studio Work (after Eva Hesse), 2021
board, vinyl, varnish, ink trace, 21 x 15 cm / 8.26 x 5.9 in
The performed aspects of Lynch’s oeuvre, meanwhile, offer an open-ended, often satirical adjunct to her sculpture and print-making. To mark the unveiling of Collective gallery’s new site on Calton Hill in 2018, Lynch collaborated with Edinburgh’s Rhubaba art-collective choir, creating a series of participatory songs reflecting on the city’s cultural heritage, using her newly installed sculptural seats, Turns, as stages or soapboxes. Live actions like these epitomise Lynch’s engagement with the city as a site of collision and commingling: between the personal and the political, the communal and the corporate and the restrictive social constructs of masculine and feminine. The idea of the flâneuse is a touchstone for all of her work, set apart from the privileged male figure of the flâneur.
Centred within Lynch’s booth is a series of ink-stained printing plates, created to make the collagraph and relief-print works for artist and writer Rhona Warwick Paterson’s 2022 publication Made on the Table. This book was produced as part of Warwick Paterson’s residency at Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA), for which she set up a kitchen table-cum-studio space within the current exhibition Domestic Bliss, which explores notions of the household in modern and contemporary art. Paterson’s domesticating gesture speaks to the space- and time-pressures faced by many artists and freelancers who juggle work and household duties, more keenly experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic. With a nod to Eva Hesse’s coffee table-studio space complete with the grid made for her by Sol LeWitt, thinking time returns to the table while the studio waits for the physical activity of production. Lynch was amongst a series of collaborators whom Warwick Paterson invited into her domestic space to talk, createsmall clay models and make new writings using the Exquisite Corpse method of surrealist poem generation.
Made on the Table documents the products of this collaboration while also offering an allegorical narrative involving two of the artists featured in the exhibition Domestic Bliss, Nicola L and Niki de Saint Phalle (whom Lynch has described as models for her and Warwick Paterson’s collaboration). Different images refer to – and bear the literal imprint of – screwed up paper, cleaning product branding, a Lithuanian envelope, kitchen toweling and typewriter ribbon; a number of the stencils allude to the shape of a fold-out table. Anarchically positioned lettering might recall the parole in libertà of Futurism or Dada, but references to household routine and creative friendship subvert the hyper-masculine energy of the historical avant-gardes.
The plates are formed by adding thin, textured layers of household detritus and laser-cut vinyl lettering to Environmount board. Shapes are then cut into the board and removed. Everything is fixed in place with glue and varnish, coated in ink, and wiped back with scrim before being passed through a roller press onto paper. The patina and worked-over quality of the objects – which Lynch describes as “sculptural” despite their diminutive size – evoke connections to the portable Flux-kits of the Fluxus movement. In the spirit of Lynch’s practice as a whole, we find the boundaries between the artistic and the personal, the professional and the domestic, undone in a pointed yet light-hearted manner.
Tessa Lynch & Rhona Warwick Paterson, Endless Care, 2021
Board, vinyl, varnish, ink trace
The black wooden Selfie sculptures to the right of Lynch’s stencils are from an ongoing series started in 2013. They seem to recreate in three dimensions the kind of momentary sketches one might make from memory after a visit to a new city. These delightful pieces sum up the see-sawing qualities of permanence and impermanence that define Lynch’s creative orbit, making timeless the expression of a moment’s thought or feeling. Similarly, the artist’s metal-plated Tote Bag could be mistaken for an item misplaced en route through the gallery, or across a rainy metropolis. Yet it bears features that secure it in physical and conceptual space. Its metal plating alludes to the ‘armour’ often required to broach the urban environment – with nods to recent and historical writing on women’s psychic experience of the city – while the theatrical rain that coats it will never fade, as if an instant in time could be frozen forever.
Tessa Lynch, Selfie Public Sculpture, 2013
Laser cut wood, acrylic paint, 60 x 40 x 6 cm / 24 x 13 x 3 in
Tessa Lynch (b. 1984, Epsom, England, lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland) graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2007 with a BA in Tapestry, receiving her MFA from Glasgow School of Art in 2013.
She describes her practice as work and life held in one place, intermingling and blurred. She is interested in the politics that shape the world and how they’re reflected in what we see and experience on a day-to-day basis. Her practice is concerned with the relationship between civic planning, architecture, access and emotional response, while emphasising forms of hidden and collaborative labour, including that undertaken by women.
Recent solo shows include Stoop, Stoop, Stooping is Stoopid!, with Rachel Adams, Studio Pavilion, Glasgow, 2019; Gardener, Patricia Fleming Gallery, Glasgow, 2019; L-Shaped Room, Spike Island, Bristol, 2018; NOW, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, 2017; Wave Machine, David Dale, Glasgow, 2016; Painter's Table, Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow International Director's Programme, 2016. Her work has been shown at Sunday Art Fair, 2019; Independent Brussels, 2018; Vermillion Sands, Copenhagen, 2018; Cubitt, London, 2018; Frieze, London, 2017; Condo, London, 2016. In 2017 Lynch was the recipient of The Elephant Trust Award. Collections include Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, University of Edinburgh, Touchstone Museum England, Arts Council England and Collective Gallery Edinburgh. She has produced a number of permanent commissions including Collective Gallery, Edinburgh; SWG3, Glasgow; Jupiter Artland, Edinburgh.
Lynch is currently preparing a new commission for a public sculpture at National Galleries Scotland and a solo exhibition at Edinburgh Printmakers for Edinburgh Art Festival.
Rhona Warwick Paterson (Made on the Table collaborator) is an artist and writer from Glasgow. She was awarded the Scottish Book Trust Prize for Poetry (2018). She has been appointed the Associate Artist for Gallery of Modern Art (2019-2022) and is a Research Fellow for Theatrum Mundi, London.
Her practice often manifests in response to context through various mediums working with the written form, sculpture and performance as strategies that address feminist readings relating to the urban environment and the ways in which its cultural matter (histories, artefacts, experience) produce us as social subjects.
Collaborators include artists Edmund de Waal, Tessa Lynch, Corin Sworn and Martin Boyce. Rhona is currently working on a new suite of site-responsive film-poems with dancer Eve Mutso for The Fruitmarket Gallery and a dance libretto for Mount Stuart. Published works include Putty and Armatures, slo-mo books, 2018-19; Site Report, Theatrum Mundi, 2022; Made on the Table, Gallery of Modern Art, 2022; After Orta / Cunei Form / Lean To, The Fruitmarket Gallery, 2022.