Reviews/Texts

irish-hare-portmore-loughOut of the Shadows: Capturing the World of the Forgotten Naturalist John Templeton (1766-1825)

Ulster Museum Belfast   Time/Date – 10:00 – 17:00, Thu 29 Sep 2016 – Sun 13 Nov 2016

This exhibition is based on diaries written by the naturalist John Templeton between 1806-1825, when he lived at Cranmore, the historic family home in Malone, Belfast. It marks the 250th anniversary of his birth, and brings to light the extraordinary breadth and historical significance of the diaries.

‘Given access to John Templeton’s diaries, I was transported into the world of a gentleman scientist who contributed to the advancement of knowledge in a period of intense reflection following the turbulent years of the 1798 Rebellion. The diaries present arguments on matters such as education and political philosophy and a mix of autobiography and events, as well as a detailed and accurate account of the landscape of the 1800s, its agriculture, flora and fauna. Most wonderfully, they tell the story of the historic Cranmore gardens, designed by Templeton.

Many aspects of his natural world seem to coincide with subjects and records in my own nature diaries. I want to open the narrow window of time and space through which Templeton described his unique vision of the natural world and, where relevant and appropriate, compare it with mine. This exhibition pays literary and photographic homage to the beauty, the wonder and detail of a natural world that has been lost to us for over 200 years.’

All interpretive panels and images copyright Patricia Pyne

“Glad to see that, thanks to your work [Templeton] is getting his deserved place in the limelight”  John Gray, writer, historian, commentator

Out of the Shadows was featured in the iconic Irishman’s Diary in the Irish Times:

‘Templeton’s unpublished diaries, held by the Ulster Museum, …. have been explored by fine art photographer Patricia Pyne who spent three years delving into his life, interpreting the natural history contained in his journals. Her work opens a window on a lost world, forming a remarkable sestercentennial exhibition that retrieves his legacy.’

http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/an-irishman-s-diary-on-john-templeton-the-father-of-irish-botany-1.2885417

Power of place catalogue imagePower of Place InviteThe Power of Place

Down County Museum, The Mall, Downpatrick February 20 – 27 September 2015

In early 2014 Down County Museum commissioned fine art photographer Patricia Pyne to photograph a selection of early Christian and medieval sites in County Down. The results are displayed in this dramatic and thought-provoking exhibition which captures the hidden beauty of our ecclesiastical heritage.

“This photo exhibit, so incredibly haunting and beautiful – it will remain with me for a long time.  A privilege to visit.”  G.P. Australia and Zimbabwe

 

 Slaney700In the Footsteps of St Patrick

St Patrick Centre, Downpatrick, County Down February – March 2015

Patricia’s images form the background to this large-panel exhibition highlighting the heritage of St Patrick in County Down.  It is accompanied by a booklet.

(left) Mouth of the Slaney where St Patrick stepped ashore from a small boat swept into Strangford Lough by strong tidal currents

 

Drawn by Light PostcardDrawn by Light

In July 2014 the Linen Hall Belfast launched Patricia’s new exhibition Drawn by Light, a series of images focusing on the natural world, symbolic landscapes and ancient megaliths of the Province of Ulster.

Deborah Douglas, Linen Hall Programme Manager, says:

Patricia’s work is so popular and sought after the Linen Hall has invited her to exhibit a few times over the past years. Drawn by Light is her latest collection and we are very excited to be hosting it. Both NI residents and tourists will love the pictures of NI’s wildlife and giant ancient structures from which the myths and legends of our land have grown.

Drawn by Light was listed as one of Belfast’s unforgettable events.

 

Belfast’s 10 Unforgettable Events and Festivals this August

From a small, countrified hamlet at Lagan’s edge to the bustling and industrious city that stands before us today, Belfast has undergone many transformations on the road to the success. A city brimming with creativity, Northern Ireland’s capital prides itself on providing as many events as there are days in the calendar – here we have a selection of ten events occurring this August, from must-see exhibitions to cinema tours and concerts.

Photography | Patricia Pyne ‘Drawn by Light’

In the Linen Hall Library this August, the latest haunting, beautiful collection produced by photographer Patricia Pyne will be available for viewing. As a contemporary photographer physicalising her vision through 19th processes, the images create an at once nostalgic yet progressive reaction, almost journalistic in their raw honesty of the difficulties involved in conveying the natural world and ancient megaliths.

Patricia Pyne Drawn by Light, Linen Hall Library, 17 Donegall Square, North Belfast, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland

 The_Pencil_of_NatureThe Pencil of Nature: Contemporary images that evoke the Past

Exhibition in the Linen Hall Library Belfast July – August 2011

Opened by the Librarian John Killen

Highlighted by BBC as a not-to-be-missed exhibition

Patricia was honoured to represent the photographic medium as part of the Local Art by Local Artists series in a solo exhibition during July and August 2011 in the Linen Hall Library, Belfast.   A unique institution, the Linen Hall, founded in 1788, is the oldest library in Belfast and also the last subscribing library in Ireland, renowned for its unparalleled Irish and Local Studies Collection.

LINEN HALL | NEWS RELEASE

Well-known Northern Ireland photographer Patricia Pyne is the latest featured in the Library’s on-going series entitled Local Art by Local Artists. Her exhibition explores the interplay of nature and art through the medium of photography. The pictures are meant as a celebration of the photographic medium, and her interpretation conveys a sense of the art, magic and wonder of that medium. 20 Sept 2011

Culture Northern Ireland: Visual Arts Review: The Pencil of Nature

by John Gray  Historian, Writer, Commentator

A reaffirmation of the power of black and white photography

Patricia Pyne consciously invokes the pioneers of photography with this exhibition at the Linen Hall Library  – after all, The Pencil of Nature (1844) was the mould-breaking work of William Fox Talbot, the inventor of the photographic negative. Pyne ’s Harbinger of Summer captures a swallow in the style of a Talbot shadow picture.

Elsewhere Pyne pays homage in Wild Honeysuckle to Anna Atkins, generally credited as the first woman photographer, and in Egret Walking to Eadweard Muybridge, the first photographer to successfully capture motion. The great bird illustrator, Audobon, is also an inspiration. Even the cover of her catalogue has a characteristically 19th century typeface.

This is no empty mimicking. Pyne reminds us that those early photographers, despite the limitations of their equipment, were capable of producing images, indeed works of art, that have stood the test of time. She achieves her own veracity in that tradition, whether exploring the landscape or wildlife of County Down, and in particular of Strangford Lough.

Her work is also a reaffirmation of the power of black and white photography. A hoary winter view of Inch Abbey truly captures its timeless quality, while an autumn view of Scrabo Tower across the Lough has the tower and its hill ethereally floating in the sky, and makes one second guess whether this is watercolour or photograph.

The same is true of a number of her photographs, and for example in her pictures of poppies, an effect enhanced by the irregular edges of the images and the evidence of washes sometimes unevenly applied. In the poppy photographs she re-enacts early techniques such as the cyanotype or the photogram. By contrast her Scarecrows Alive, Scrabo achieves almost surrealist effect as scarecrows march down starkly delineated furrows. An odd one out geographically is a less successful view of Castle Place.

The majority of photographs here are of bird life. One of Pyne’s apparent landscapes, and this time on the Lagan, features trees and rich vegetation over-hanging the river but in fact centres on a heron  the landscape is in fact its kingdom.

Other bird photographs no doubt rely on modern shutter speeds, but Pyne’s compositional skills are always to the fore, and one can only speculate as to the patience and prolonged observation that won remarkable images and often in winter. Nor are her subjects merely common species; the brent goose, the kestrel, the knot, the little egret, the whimbrel, and the whooper swan feature here amongst others.

In Little Egret: Reach for the Sky and A Rushing of Knot she makes particularly effective use of the actual shadows of the birds on the water: the co-ordinated and oscillating flight of a mass of knots is a remarkable enough sight, but becomes doubly so when immediately reflected in rippling water.

In Take Two Terns she not only captures two terns in flight, but in a moment of seemingly tightly synchronised flying, while in Skating on the Frozen Waters of the Quoile a swan does precisely that as it seeks to take off.

Irish Hares are the only animals featured and here she perfectly captures the slight blurring effect of their fleeting movement. The technical challenges in her photographs of flowers are less obvious but whether with bluebells or orchids there is a precision of observation and even a reflection of the history of botanical drawings or of collections of pressed flowers.

It was a number of years back that Pyne had her first exhibition at the Linen Hall, and of photographs of prehistoric monuments. She achieved the feat of at one and the same time acknowledging the history of recording these sites and bringing the inanimate to life.

The Linen Hall seemed a particularly apt venue for that exhibition, which was widely admired at the time, and the bond grows stronger with the new venture. Pyne has “often reflected on the similarities between the Linen Hall and Strangford Lough both are repositories of hidden treasures with a wonderful capacity to delight, restore and inspire the mind”.

The historical overlap between two very different spheres seems even more valid as she appears to be working even more consciously within a tradition.

In doing so she proves her versatility and the radical possibilities of her craft. It is definitely an exhibition to call in and admire. Signed and limited numbered prints of the photographs are also on sale at £100 unframed and £150 framed. Not cheap I know, but these are true works of art.

The Pencil of Nature: Contemporary Images that evoke the Past

WWT Castle Espie November – December 2011

Exhibition opened by painter and sculptor Philip Flanagan

In this striking exhibition Patricia explores the interplay between nature and art. The work celebrates the photographic medium and includes images reminiscent of the first photographic experiments. The exhibition runs from Thursday 17 November through Sunday 4 December 2011.

 

Secrets lough shore landscapeSecrets of Lough and Shore  

The Graffan Gallery, WWT Castle Espie, Comber, County Down 2009

Exhibition opened by  Director of WWT (N Ireland)

Patricia’s very successful exhibition Secrets of Lough and Shore 2009 exploring the ebb and flow of Strangford Lough was opened by the Director of WWT Castle Espie, James Orr.  Her work was chosen for the inaugural exhibition at the Graffan Gallery, a major feature of the magnificent redeveloped wetland centre at Castle Espie near Comber, County Down, N Ireland.

The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust said of the exhibition:

A stunning exhibition. The dramatic and beautifully simple moments captured and preserved in the images depict the wonder and splendour of the local landscape and the natural world.

Patricia was awarded the distinction of Associate of the Royal Photographic Society for her evocative images from this collection.

Images were on display throughout 2008 and 2009 in the form of  back-lit panels at both the Belfast International and Belfast City airports to launch partnerships with the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. As well as welcoming visitors and those returning home to Northern Ireland, they highlighted the growing importance of conservation and the environment within the business sector.  Commissioned by WWT Slimbridge, her work in large format is now on permanent display in the restaurant, theatre and conference room of the Wetlands Centre at Castle Espie.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

VCB-gym-treesVictoria College Belfast: The First 150 Years  by Julie Kerr (first published in 2009 by Blackstaff Press)

” Thank you so  much for your contribution to the 150th book in the beautiful photographs which greatly enhance the content.  We have all admired the quality of your craftsmanship.”  Victoria College Belfast

“Patricia Pyne’s stunning photographs of the school and Drumglass House today greatly enhance the book.”  Dr Julie Kerr

 

Megaliths invite 2Megaliths

Linen Hall Library Belfast 2008

Exhibition opened by the Librarian John Gray

News Release by the Linen Hall

A fascinating and unique exhibition by photographer Patricia Pyne is currently on display in Belfast’s Linen Hall Library.The exhibition entitled ‘Megaliths’ is a spectacular depiction of an array of Neolithic monuments dating back to over 3000BC and it succeeds in luring viewers into our mysterious prehistoric past.

This very special photographic study was created by Patricia after she combined her passion for photography with her interest in ancient monuments and travelled across Northern Ireland to capture our many majestic megaliths. Speaking about the exhibition, Patricia explains:
“For this exhibition, I have concentrated on the wonderfully sculptural portal tombs in which our country is so rich. I have portrayed them as abstract visual elements, rising dramatically above the grasses and wildflowers of the Irish countryside. The northern megaliths are unique in their appearance and setting, whether it is on a lonely hillside, amongst the drumlins or even, on occasion, as garden features.”
With this exhibition, Patricia has drawn inspiration from the masters of early Irish photography, endeavouring to portray her subjects in the tradition of nineteenth century photographers. However, she has also adopted a fresh and original approach, by capturing graphic shapes, textures and contrasts in scale and light and the result is a truly distinctive style which complements the ancient monuments and brings out the timelessness of our beautiful megalithic landscape.

Passing Down

Down Arts Centre, Downpatrick, County Down 2007

Exhibition opened by award-winning photographer and broadcaster Bobbie Hanvey

 

Talks/Lectures

Patricia is often invited as guest speaker to talk about her work and her interest in the history of photography.  She has addressed many groups including museum audiences, camera clubs, photography workshops, church groups, women’s groups, Old Girls’ associations, men’s groups including The Order of St Patrick.