Graham Patterson

Works made in the tidal zone... between high and low tide / questioning notions of ownership, autonomy and free will. A collaboration between myself and the elements.

Accumulation. A commission through the North East Photography Network (NEPN) during the Wear Experimenting project 2018. The project involved facilitating two participatory workshops creating darkroom photograms from plastic material collected by participants from a site in Roker, Sunderland where a glut of plastic material had accumulated within the tidal defences.

The darkroom prints made during the workshops were scanned and printed onto digital film. The printed film formed a temporary installation on the coast in the site where the pastic detritus was collected. The media and programmes such as the 'Blue Planet' has brought the issue of 'sea plastic' to the fore, as a society often feel powerless to stem the tide of plastic waste despite being acutely aware of the detrimental effects it has on the marine landscape and wildlife.

The installation process consisted of embedding telescopic poles into the sand to attach the film to enabling the printed material to be activated by the elements, to in a sense 'come alive', reversing the redundancy of the object. There is a performative element to the installation, which included pouring seawater onto the film to enable the milky adhesive that locked the ink onto the film to run clear, the intention being that the sea and plastic material represented on the printed material could be photographed together. Over time the rain, wind and the abrasive properties of the coastline would eventually strip the ink from the surface of the film to render a clear substrate. An accelerated solution, where as in reality its estimated that a plastic object would take up to 500 years to completely disintegrate.

For further information on the Accumulation project and other commisions and activities organised by NEPN visit

poly_thene dream. 

The constantly shifting focus and movement of the flowing material induces a hypnotic effect. The polythene mirrors the flow of clouds and sea with the landscape. Whose vista is diffused behind the material, occasionally appearing at intervals as the polythene unfurls. 


2017 Arts Council funded group exhibition on Holy Island, featuring the work of six North-East based artists. As curator of the project Iworked with organisations such as Natural England and English Heritage to ensure permission was granted to the artists proposed use of materials at their chosen sites.

Dr. Mike Collier contributed an essay for the project 'One island, two names … names that link culture with nature' appeared in the fold out risograph guidemap. Five hundred copies were printed, half of which were distributed to arts venues in the North-East, the remainder were placed in perspex leaflet dispensers  close to the works. Aligned to Mike Collier's research group W.A.L.K(Walking, Art, Landskip, and Knowledge) a walk was arranged on the opening day of the exhibition. The group stopped off atsites to discuss materials, processes and how the the geographical and historical significance of the Island manifested itself in the works that the artists had created.

Given that the work was installed for seven days and taking into account the time required to traverse the Island to encounter the works and the tidal nature of the Island; we decided it was of paramount importance to document the project. We commissioned a film crew in order to reach a wider a audience after the event. The resulting document beautifully conveyed the uniquness of the landscape alongside the endeavour that each of the artists brought to the project. The short film features the artists installing their works to synced interviews - click the link below to view the film.

Reverie,Graham Patterson’s kinetic assemblages,uses salvaged debris from the shoreline combined with reflectivematerials referencing the movement of sky, sea and sand. The works,which are joined together with monofilament, can be seen embeddedinto, shoreline debris in CovesHaven and Sandham Bay.

terra incognita (unknown land) 2013-2015. Large format sheets of acetate formerly used in a commercial printers for litho book layouts) cable ties to the base of plastic fish boxes and flotation buoys attached via heavy duty wire trawler cable entwined and wedged between heavy rocks in a tidal inlet where the incoming tide on stormy day smashes into jagged rocks. 

The marks on the acetate record the intangible interaction between the material and the aforementioned abrasive coastal landscape. The sheets of acetate were retrieved and  the scratched marks ingrained  with black intaglio printing ink. These were presented in exhibition form attached to fishing line and offset from the surface of a table or wall in direct sunlight to enable the scratches to cast elongated shadows.

Panoramic pinhole camera wedged in the rocks attached to a heavy rubber bollard to help withstand the onslaught of heavy seas. The fusing of the seawater entering into the camera to the latent photographic image, began to hold my attention more so than the recording of the photographic image of the oncoming waves rocks and the distant horizon.

Using Format