Galalith at Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, guest curated by Katherine Murphy, 2022

Images Kasia Kaminska and Kate Bowe-O’Brien

Galalith, is an expanded staging of Gault’s sculptural installations, responding to Temple Bar Gallery + Studios internal gallery space and the building’s external, environmental context.

The exhibition incorporates sunlight caught by a street facing solar panel, a threaded assemblage featuring unused galalith(1) stock, recycled rubber safety surfacing, large scale suspended sculpture and a human/non human soundscape (solar controlled). Gault worked with independent feminist curator Katherine Murphy to research and realise this body of work, undertaking a collaborative studio residency at TBG+S.

Collaborations have been central to this exhibition, with Gault and Murphy working with the National Museum of Ireland to access bog butter(2) samples and a Viking ‘toggle’ artefact. This toggle example, found in nearby Fishamble Street, depicts the mythical wolf ‘Fenrir’ devouring the sun at the end of the world. Initially read as a ‘canine with ball’, the symbolism and mythology within this piece denotes both a benign act of domesticated play, and fraught environmental and non-human tensions. This artefact was researched along with contemporary ‘monster wolves’ – solar powered, robotic scarecrows which act as wildlife deterrents through the production of sound and a ‘wolfish’ appearance(3).

Ireland has a rich lupine history – garnering the nickname ‘Wolf Land’ in the early 17th century, as well as its iconic wolf-hound breed and prospective re-wilding policies of today. These histories continue to circularly evolve, with our increase in demand for domestic canine pets, set against rising livestock and sheep worrying – a complex oscillation between domestication and wildness, of the controlled and unboundaried.

Drawing from and combining these reference points, a specifically designed solar panel was developed with the Solar Energy Applications Group at Trinity College. This panel and its attached technology acts as a controller for the internal sound work, volumetrically shifting with the levels of solar energy present across each day. Rather than acting as a deterrent, these sounds are invitational – featuring calls produced by ‘speaking’ and barking ravens, howling wolf-dogs, sounds from the sun, and frequencies only detectable by the non-human.

There is a distinct presence of dual working contexts in the exhibition, with ephemera collected from city and active rural environments, expanding Gault’s ongoing research which engages with agri-relations and agroecology, matter interconnectivity, and agency within unstable micro and macro environmental systems.

Gault’s material treatments and museological analysis techniques within Galalith, such as ‘micro-fading’ and solar-faded objects, give a tangible visualisation of a material’s future state. Through these works, the natural flow of time is interrupted, indicating the possibility of alternative or suspected futures, whilst raising questions around agency, conservation and loss.


(1) galalith γάλα (gala, “milk”) and λῐ́θος (lithos, “stone”) is a synthetic plastic material manufactured from the interaction of the protein ‘casein’ in milk and formaldehyde. Galalith was predominantly used in the production of objects which involved close human touch and bodily proximity, for example within jewellery and button production, pens, piano keys, combs, tokens, and plectrums. It is biodegradable, non-allergenic and virtually non-flammable. The galalith within this exhibition was sourced as unused stock from circa 1940-50 (sun damaged, un-worked rods and blanks); as well as some newly manufactured stock – currently used as an alternative to contemporary, oil based plastics.

(2) bog butter – a fatty substance, usually dairy in origin, which has been buried and preserved, then found and resurfaced, in peat bogs in Ireland and Scotland. This practice dates back 3,500 years, with samples in Ireland dating from the first century CE. Often accidentally unearthed by farmers and turf cutters, this substance can appear uncannily fresh, emerging preserved from the peat bogs’ stable micro climate and into a new, current time. The bog butter form reproduced in this exhibition is from the townland Corlea in Co.Monaghan, accessed from the NMI stores, scanned and 3D printed into stone-like solidity.

(3) Kuebiko is the Shinto deity of knowledge and agriculture. Often represented as a scarecrow which cannot move yet has a comprehensive awareness of the world, Kuebiko is a Japanese word which refers to fatigue generated by senseless violence. A spectral figure in the exhibition, Kuebiko is used to open up dialogue around environmental agency, shared feelings of potential loss/grief and the complexities of our evolving agri-relationships.

Link to sound work:

Link to Contemporary Art Library:


  1. solar panel –  aluminium frame, PLA, silicon solar cells, reinforced glass, luminescent plates (perspex with lumogen dyes), cabling.

  2. tannoy, custom audio device with programmed microcontroller, electrical circuit, cabling. Soundscape composed with Richy Carey, the soundscape volumetrically shifts with the levels of solar energy present across each day. Soundscape features; raven mimicking human voice, human mimicking beta wolf call, wolf-dog calls and responses, raven mimicking dog, wolf-dog recordings (growls, snuffs, etc.)cellos playing wolf tones,corvid wings fluttering. Processing includes – tape looping, time stretching, reversal, pitch shifting, varispeed, analog delay.

  3. clear acrylic, microfaded galalith, blown glass, glass fixings, eaten strawberry, galalith counter.

  4. recycled rubber play surfacing, mineral cattle bolus, wool, eaten strawberries, metal, barley straw, untreated galalith.

  5. hand carved foam, water based coat and metal.

  6. grey marle fabric, carved galalith from unused blank stock c.1940-50, CNC machine cut galalith sheets, microfaded galalith sheet, empty meal bags, metal, used Rumenco MAXX energy mineral lick (bucket), straw, wood, 3D printed Fenrir wolf toggles and bog butter top surface (Corlea, Co.Monaghan), bucket handle, silage wrap, baler twine, 3D printed solar panel grid, plastic veterinary glove, magnesium bolus’, cast jesmonite, blown glass.