Critics’ Picks

Lauren Gault, “Galalith” (detail), 2022. Photo: Kasia Kaminska.

Lauren Gault, “Galalith” (detail), 2022. Photo: Kasia Kaminska.

Dublin

Lauren Gault

Temple Bar Gallery + Studios
5-9 Temple Bar
May 19–July 2, 2022

Barking ravens, wolf-howling humans, speech-mimicking passerines: Lauren Gault’s “Galalith” comes with a backing track of unreliable animal sounds. The squawks and cries are impersonations and strange combinations: beast- and birdcalls, human and nonhuman voices, variously merged. This fitful creature-chorus is an apt accompaniment to the hybrid forms of Glasgow-based Gault’s mercurial sculptures. From a distance, each of the three main (and untitled) works here seems a wholly different aesthetic species. One, suspended from the ceiling, is a self-contained, figurative presence: a white, carved-foam portrayal of a wolf grappling with a smooth sphere. (Accompanying notes identify him as Fenrir, a monstrous being from Viking myth, “devouring the sun at the end of the world.”) Another composition is more abstract: a triptych of robust, head-height, pale gray and purple cuboids. The third, spread out on the floor, is an unfixed assemblage of decorative and utilitarian oddments—pieces of blown glass, scraps of baler twine, a 3-D printed solar panel—swaddled by rumpled lengths of gray marle fabric.

 Dissimilar as these sculptures are, they are bound up by recurring details and thematic threads centered on agricultural and archaeological subjects. The lupine cryptid reappears, for instance, on a tiny scale among the items clustered on the floor. A selection of small, thick capsules—mineral boluses used in cattle farming—become, here and there, curious sculptural adornments. Key among the connections, though, are dispersed, fragmentary samples of glossy “galalith”: a manufactured material, resembling plastic but made from milk protein (the word means, from ancient Greek, “milk-stone”). As such, melding animal and mineral, natural substance and industrial process, it registers as an ideal ingredient in Gault’s densely packed art of entangled mixture and daunting multiplicity.