Four Winds Projection
© Matthew Rowe
Supper 8mm film,
This work has derived from the cross fertilisation of previously separate 3 dimensional and 2 dimensional areas of Rowe’s practice an amalgamation of media that has transpired into an investigation, further questioning how the medium of ceramics can be implicated in the documentation of social history, Enhancing the notion of lens based practice such as photo documentation.
In this work the efforts and signature of ceramic processes are veiled by the luminosity of the film, as it coats the fragile ceramic blank, masking its vulnerability.The unadorned ceramic form provides a distinctive base, on which to display the documented footage. The supper 8mm film is projected to the scale of modal railway scenery, suggesting a nostalgic rose tinted view of the four winds.Further strengthened by the film footages low depth of field, offering viewer the visual essence, of the seaside cafés aesthetic.
Traditionally the Hand of Glory is the dried or pickled left hand of a man condemned to the gallows. It is believed a candle made from the fat of the hung man, lit and placed in the Hand of Glory would have cast the recipient of its powers in to a deep unwakeable sleep. In Rowe’s film a cast hand is flanked by two skulls.
Each skull rests on a base of loose clay strips. As the film progresses these clay tendrils seemingly sigh and heave with natural movement. The fingers of the central hand light up one by one creating a burning effigy. Here, Rowe evokes a folkloric tradition and plays with the material properties of ceramic and lard. Rather than from a tallow candle Rowe has cast his Hand of Glory from everyday supermarket lard, re-framing the ancient ritual with a playful contemporary twist. The movement of the skulls is further formed through the natural drying process of clay, as the clay dries out its surface expands and contracts. This slow movement, caught on film, anthropomorphises the medium imbuing the image with a sentiment of the other worldly.
by Laura Mansfield