Art | Installation | Design
Salvaged from the childhood home, slate roofing slabs have been cut, drilled and then drawn and painted on recording notations and memories of a life. The juxtaposition of the vertical slabs in a long horizontal line calls to mind a xylophone but also the handscrolls of ancient cultures that recorded customs and legends. This piece attempts to record a father's inventions, creations, teachings and past times before physical space changes and recollection fades. At the end of the long row of slate writing slabs, a small oil painting The Traveller: The other side of the Atlantic, painted while studying in Nova Scotia in 1993, stops the viewer and takes them back to the slate. The lone figure in the painting stands on rocks looking out to sea, cognizant of the same stories and a connection to a homeland.
This work was inspired by old 16th Century drawings of dust particles. The aim was to physically represent a shard of light beaming into a space. However, on close inspection, the work is a social commentary on what was happening in the world at the time. The shapes and forms molded in the lime mortar (a medium traditionally used for fresco painting and able to last for centuries) were of images and objects referred to in the daily news at the time. The Gulf war began with bombings and there were tensions across the Middle East. The "dust particles" represented the never-ending visual images of negative human activities that filled our day to day lives and are still relevant today.
Other layers of meaning entered the work. Sahara dust began blowing across the Atlantic, after the drought, and this dust settled into reefs and seas, disrupting the Ecosystem from Florida to South America and changing it forever. Then another blow, a space shuttle blew up on re-entry to the earth atmosphere. A powerful image appeared in the media, of the parts of the shuttle collected and placed as in a puzzle, in an effort to piece together what might have been the cause.