Exhibition Essays

Ah, Um

November 2007

Patrick Lundberg- Buying wool, Describing space, Making paintings

Martyn Reynolds

The Downtown Westfield near the waterfront, the second floor food court, behind Baron Supreme Fried Chicken, is Masco Ltd — the wool shop.

Every week or so he would have gone there to look for wool. Masco have a selection of thicknesses ranging from 2 ply to over 20 ply; 8 ply double knit, 12 ply triple knit, 14 ply chunky. Width can be consistent in a bundle or can undulate between various ply in a single bundle. There are varieties and blends comprised of natural materials — wool, possum, silk, cotton, bamboo fibre, and synthetic yarns of nylon or acrylic. In selecting wools he would have been looking for colour and tonal differences, contrasts and compliments. Synthetic yarns offer the most choices in this regard, and a consistent mid ply, 4-8 are ideal.

In the space he would have considered the changing light in the room, the scale of the room, the walk through. Having decided on two tones of green, a deep forest green and a pale pastel he then chose the far left corner. Once the length of a span was decided he would have marked the points on the wall—a meter or so either side of the corner, at varying heights. Using an electric drill with a 1mm drill bit he would make holes in the wall a centimetre deep. Cutting the wool to the appropriate span he would have made a small knot in each end. Using an engraving knife he then poked these knots into the holes, drawing the wool taught. After some experiments and re-drilling of holes there would have been two lengths of wool spanning the corner of the room, their lines crossing each other.

These fine lines in the corner of the room describe space; articulate what is already present, a kind of succinct acknowledgement.

On a free-standing wall diagonally opposite this corner, a thick pale blue shoelace makes a vertical line. Its thin plastic ends he would have similarly poked into small holes drilled into the wall, the top above head-height, the bottom at knee height — dividing the wall in a graphic but organic addition to the whole.

Now the room is mostly empty, two lines of green wool in one corner, a blue shoelace in the other.

Near Enjoy, at The Warehouse and Briscoes the range of seats includes: canvas folding chairs with steel tube frames, plastic and steel stacking chairs—bare or including soft fabric seats and backs, three legged folding camping stools with plastic canvas seats, ottomans in micro-suede or faux leather, lounge suites, designer styled office chairs, swivel, recline, extend. He would have selected some of these seats, decisions based on economy, practicality, creating an incomplete series, variations on a theme.

Now the seats are scattered through the room, leaning against the wall folded, sprawled or composed. The room is fuller, the wool lines and shoelace are more invisible and their affect more accessible.