Shelagh Wakely’s work has for many years been concerned with the ephemeral and transitory. Since the mid-1970s she has been making extraordinarily delicate and decorative works, with the form often affected by physical interactions between viewer, site and work.
For the South London Gallery she has created Rainsquare, an outdoor work sited in the gallery courtyard. In Rainsquare, glass squares are covered with fragile sheets of silvery aluminium leaf which are broken down into irregular patterns by the pitter-patter of falling raindrops. As the patterns develop the squares are then turned over, to be preserved, or left facing up, so the remaining fragments are either blown or washed away.
Like memory it is a work which is continuously breaking down into smaller parts, threatening over time to dissolve completely. Rainsquare not only encapsulates a moment in organic patterning by weather, it also marks the end of summer, heralding the autumn in a poetic and organic way.