• Róisín Lewis, Night Swim

17/05/18—26/05/18

Róisín Lewis—Realtime

Opening reception: 6–8pm Thursday 17th May 2018
Exhibition runs: Thursday 17th – Saturday 26th May
Gallery open: 12–6pm Thursday–Saturday

Real time, reasoned Patti Smith, “cannot be divided into sections like numbers on the face of a clock. If I write about the past as I simultaneously dwell in the present, am I still in real time?  Perhaps there is no past or future, only the perpetual present that contains this trinity of memory. I looked out into the street and noticed the light changing. Perhaps the sun had slipped behind a cloud. Perhaps time had slipped away.”  Patti Smith, M Train, 2015

Róisín Lewis is a visual artist with a practice rooted in drawing. The current focus of her work is the correlation between her lived experience of space and time, and the unfolding of space and time in her drawings. In the work exhibited in Realtime, Lewis draws on her experience of space and time at sea, the accounts of fellow marathon swimmers, and data gleaned from environmental and body-worn technology. Mental strategies employed by the long distance swimmer and the elastic nature of her experience of time, are central to the work.

In the series “S”, each drawing relates to a neap* or spring tidal period in the English Channel. Using coordinates recorded by GPS trackers, Lewis has manually retraced the ephemeral paths created by each of the 121 swimmers who swam from England to France during the summer of 2014. Crossing this large expanse of water, there are no intermediary landmarks by which to gauge progress. Time cannot be measured in relation to space, but simply marked by the rhythms of the body as it moves through the sea, or guessed at by the height of the sun above the horizon.

In the series “Night Swimmers”, Lewis focuses on this rhythmical relationship with the environment. Using data gathered from swimmers’ support crews, she estimates the number of strokes taken over the course of the crossing. Each stroke is represented by a looped glyph, an abstraction of the complex trajectory of the swimmers hand as it pulls through the water. The process of retracing journeys and the rhythmical activity of drawing encourage memories of the artist’s own encounters with the sea to resurface – of the push and pull of the tide, the reflection of the sun on the water, the silky blackness of the night sea.  


*a tide just after the first or third quarters of the moon when there is least difference between high and low water.


Róisín Lewis graduated from NCAD with a BA in Fine Art and completed an MA in Fine Art at the University of Ulster and a M.Sc. in Multimedia Systems at TCD. 

In recent years Lewis’s work has been exhibited in a number of group exhibitions Artworks, at Visual Carlow; Fitter, Happier, More Productive, at Source Arts Center, Thurles; Silver at Uilinn, West Cork; Elsewhere at Wandsford Quay Gallery, Cork; Airmail at Assab One, Milan, Yanagisawa Gallery, Tokyo and Fenderesky Gallery, Belfast; Akroma, at The Latvian National Museum of Art, Riga and Expo Dessins, Paris. She has had solo exhibitions at The Ashford Gallery, The Lab and The Kevin Kavanagh Gallery in Dublin, Roscommon Arts Center, and at The Old Museum and Proposition Gallery in Belfast.

Lewis has been awarded residencies at The RHA, DIT, The Irish Museum of Modern Art, and the Firestation Artist’s Studio, Dublin. In September, she will participate in the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation residency in Connecticut. A bursary from Cork City Council currently supports her work.

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Artist-Initiated Projects at Pallas Projects/Studios is an open-submission, annual gallery programme of 12 x 2-week exhibitions taking place between April and November 2018, in the context of a gallery space with a dedicated tradition towards the professional development of artists in a peer-led, supportive environment. This unique programme of funded, artist-initiated projects selected via open call is highly accessible to artists, with a focus on early career, emerging artists and recent graduates. Projects are supplemented with artists' talks, texts, workshops or performances, and gallery visits by colleges and local schools.

Artist-Initiated Projects aims to act as an incubator for early careers, and support artists' practices at crucial stages, providing a platform for artists to produce and exhibit challenging work across all art forms. The model of short-run exhibitions with a relatively short turnaround time of 3–6 months is an alternative to the normal institutional model, where the process of studio visit to exhibition can take several years. Shorter lead-in times allow the programme to be quick and responsive, reflect what artists are currently making, and encourage experimentation and risk-taking.

Pallas Projects/Studios Artist-Initiated Projects is supported by The Arts Council

Full Artist-Initiated Projects programme