Existing in Dialogue – Chainmail Response to Roseanne Lynch’s exhibition ‘Semblance’ at the Lavit Gallery

A response to Roseanne Lynch’s exhibition ‘Semblance’ at the Lavit Gallery by the participants of the ‘Existing in Dialogue’ workshop.

This iteration of the workshop was supported by Backwater Artists Group, Cork Printmakers, the Lavit Gallery and Cork City Council Arts Office through the Arts Council of Ireland’s In The Open – Faoin Spéir award: A curated programme of multi-disciplinary, inclusive arts activities in community outdoor spaces running from July 2021-April 2022.

Niamh M  – (Monday 11th April)

Semblance, give me some semblance of time 

Give me the semblance of light and presence. 

the outward appearance or apparent form of something, especially when the reality is different. I like space. I like to be given space to breathe, to think, to slowly look inwards and stand still. 

Light falls on the floor of the gallery, bouncing up and smashing itself on to the pains of glass of the frames. The light captured by the photos hanging on the walls spread out in light, medium and dark greys, rich and deep, transitioning fast and slow. A circular outline, produced solely through using a physical object, light and chemicals, creates a transfixing galaxy and a time unknown. If photography is meant to capture a moment in time, where is this moment, and why was it important to capture it? I’m falling in and swimming in this non place, it is three dimensional and yet so flat I can see where the paper was wrapped around an object. Crease lines appear jagged and so tiny, yet loud on the smooth non textured surface. Photography seems to pose the question of the photographer constantly, but here there is a separation, leaving you to fully take your own stance. 

‘The camera is an excuse to be someplace you otherwise don’t belong. It gives me both a point of connection and a point of separation.’- Susan Meiselas 

A non place, distilled and constructed by the very constraints of photography. This light would only exist in the moment of its being, never again, and never before. It left its imprint, masking this paper, with a loud yell declaring it was there, it existed, and this is the physical proof of this particle’s lifespan. And I am the witness.

Kate  – (Tuesday 12th April)

(absence & boundaries) I forgot I had a body. 

I return to this space when I stare back at my eyes reflected in glass. 

reflected in glass. 

be someplace you otherwise don’t belong. both connection and separation. 

a quotation of and about and in time (the photograph, that is) 

You witness transitioning grey forms through the practice of slow-looking I am full of borrowed feelings and leftovers ⎯ I would like to let them go 

You’re falling away (the internet connection isn’t that great) 

How far can word artists inject themselves into the work? 

We exist loudly, only when someone else reads, hears us , 

(How far will you go? How far will they let us go?) 

or sees us creasing up with laughter (lines) and bending over backwards, constructed by constraints of this moment. Yet still an unknown in this time unknown. 

dis- and reappearing from behind a p 


I climb the stairs endlessly. Clean the too-clean kitchen. Push my back against the corner wall. Redraw the angles captured in my mind. Flatten the forms. Retrace the folds. Embody the process. 

Watch the light change, hugging softer edges that drift and we swim amongst them.

Aisling – (Wednesday 13th April)

Rosa – (Thursday 14th April)

Niamh O’ C – (Friday 15th April)

“I am a poet” is a statement I often must justify to myself. My cop-out is “I write poetry” because anyone can write poetry. I sometimes feel the title of Poet must be bestowed upon me. But there is no graduation ceremony to be an artist. There are no qualifications, no caps nor gowns. 

So, what makes an artist then? 

Looking at Roseanne Lynch’s Semblance it is clear to me she is an artist. 

I can imagine, though, the modern-art-denouncer declaring “I could do that. I could point a camera at some stairs, or kitchen, or balcony. I could frame it and call it art.” 

What my imagined denouncer doesn’t consider is the darkroom. 

Can just anyone stand silently in a darkroom for hours? Can just anyone gently rock a chemical bath from side-to-side? Can just anyone watch carefully for the moment when the light bursts on the immersed paper? 

Roseanne Lynch can. 

I think the day I became a poet is the day I realised I can sit in solitude. Whether in a crowded café or privately in my room, I can sit for hours swishing a thought back and forth, waiting patiently for a light to emerge. 

My imagined denouncer believes calling something art makes it art. 

A photo can be framed, words can be formatted, but what justifies being called art? 

I think what must be present is the patiently awaited light. Even more so an audience must see that same light.

Semblance’s success is the sense of curiosity conjured up in the viewer. I found myself moving about to see how the gallery lights interacted with different works. I got up close and discovered that some of the photographs had intentional scratches and crumpling. 

For a moment I was with Roseanne in her process. Together interrogating light and observing how paper casts tiny shadows. Together noticing shapes and how they interact to make new shapes. Together pleased with our findings. 

Semblance, as an art exhibition, needs no justification. 

Mich  – (Saturday 16th April)

Can anyone write poetry? I am not so sure. Much easier to call yourself a poet than to produce poetry. Not sure what makes an artist either. Does it matter? Who decides? Techniques and skill are the least of it. There has to be something more. The techniques of photography are not interesting in the slightest. It was not what comes to mind when you look at the photographs. What is interesting is how they slowly reveal themselves. 

On first glance, they look like fairly dull, hard-edge abstractions. Elegant? Yes. Dull? Yes. Then on closer inspection you feel there is something else going on. Something subversive. The subversion of the perfect image, the subversion of the sphere, cube and cone. The subversion of the male gaze and of Euclidian perfection. Close up the images of perfection are messy. Geometry is being messed with. The flat surface of the photograph is being messed with. 

We have entered a slightly skewed world. It feels as if there is something pushing against the paper, there is something underneath, it’s like skin with stretchmarks. Geometry has become dirty and the shapes are pulsing with light and life. It is a strangely female geometry of a life that runs concurrently with the idea of perfection. It is telling us that life is grubby, creation can be a dirty, messy business and that nothing is as clear cut as it seems. The grubby reality that underlies the surface. Paper looks like creased skin, a nipple. There is a dark poetry in these images that does not give itself lightly.

Sarah – (Sunday 17th April)

Niamh Murphy

Kate Mc Sharry

Aisling Kett

Rosa Mäkelä

Niamh O’ Connell

Mich Maroney

Sarah Long

‘Semblance’, an exhibition of photographs by Roseanne Lynch, ran from 7th to the 30th of April at the Lavit Gallery, Cork.

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