Creating the Pattern Language Exhibition

This series is written by DZINE Gallery curator Philip Bewely

I always want an inside view as to what goes on “behind the scenes.” I want entry into places that are normally restricted in some way, like being backstage during a performance, or an invitation to view the archives of a museum. A question that I have often been asked is, “How does an exhibition come together?” As a guest writer for this blog, I will share stories of the inside workings of a gallery that people normally do not share, but that I personally find fascinating.


DZINE Gallery’s current exhibition, Pattern Language, which runs from September 18, 2015 to March 18, 2016, began with the working title of Pattern and Decoration, originally conceived by Miriam Dym. Miriam had previously curated a stellar exhibit of contemporary photography for DZINE Gallery’s inaugural show, “…And Everything in Between.” Miriam is an exceptional artist in her own right, and she is one of the 15 women artists featured in Pattern Language.


The best way I have found to create a concept for an exhibition is to go out and listen and observe what artists are saying and doing; by asking the question, “What interests you right now?” In my conversations with numerous artists, they all described how patterns of various kinds were informing their work: patterns in the graphic sense and also patterns found in nature and in human behavior. The use of text also came up as a kind of pattern: text and language in art to inform and intrigue and text deconstructed in ways that created new patterns and meanings. This was an exhibit that fell into place organically from a nascent conception to ideas percolating in the studios.

I hope that you will visit the gallery to see the exhibition, which features works of contemporary photography, paper cut process drawings, aquatints, hand blocked textiles, mixed media, painting, letterpress monotype, gilded glass, wool relief sculpture, art couture and video art. While I developed cross currents and interconnected themes between these works, the viewer has a part to play in making her own connections. These insights are sometimes surprising and always illuminating. The curator, the artist and the viewer are all interconnected in the artistic dialogue that is Pattern Language.

Next: Artists in Conversation Program