If the bomb does drop, I want
to be pissed out of my mind and straight underneath it when it
-Threads (1984, directed by Mick Jackson, written by Barry Hines)
From November 2 - December 14,
2003, PARTICIPANT INC will present CASTLE SPIKE, a solo exhibition
by RACHEL LOWTHER. This large-scale sculptural installation, whose
title and themes are derived from the 1984 film, Threads--"a
dramatization of the probable consequences of a full-scale nuclear
war on an English community"--will also include wall drawings
by Fritz Welch and music by The Condor Moments.
Lowther's sculptural tableaux
characteristically mix elements such as hard and soft, virility
and delicacy, "secret poison [and] out and out carnage."*
Recent works deploy such contradictions to examine masculinity
and related violence. Creating a space that is poised--neither
coming together nor falling apart--her work reiterates, from the
present moment, the formative impact of Cold War warnings on a
generation now grappling with deja vu.
Like the reverse energy described
in Lowther's drawings, her arrangement of sculptural works suggests
"the unsettling quality of disarranged, interrupted time
where landscape and event are conflated; [her works] are immersed
in the disassociated space of trauma and find their power in it."
Central to the installation is a new large-scale work, cast in
rubber and comprised of numerous drummers' arms (including members
of The Condor Moments, Spunk Lads, psi, and the Dying Light)--linked
together but not necessarily united. This organic form--a morphing
Goya-esque tree with outstretched branches and roots which were
made in collaboration with English artist, Alex Baggaley--spreads
itself about the space, incorporating one or more non-functioning
Close interpretations of the film,
Threads, glean works such as wall drawings of withered crops and
downed power lines, emblematic of Castle Spike. In the visual
communication of survivors--whose loss of language is impending--Castle
Spike refers to the altered post-apocalyptic landscape depicted
in the film. Wall drawings by Fritz Welch emanate from an improvised
excerpt of Damnation Road, performed by dancer/choreographer Miguel
Gutierrez. His movements, representing the body in terror, are
evidenced by stains left by applied pigment along the perimeter
of the space.
Also derived from Threads is a
small-scale light-emanating sculpture made of flashlights and
melted milk bottles--whose explosion signaled the beginning of
the end. These works are allied with Lowther's own misremembered
articulations--nightmarish sculptural interpretations of masculine
ideals gone wrong.
"The recurring presence of
birds" in Lowther's work, rendered in shiny monochromatic
resin, here, takes the shape of The Pelican, an omnipresent bird
with huge gaping maw. Defying the hardness that her chosen material
implies, its flaccid pouch summons both maternal gatherer and
Also included will be a video
projection, manipulated footage from Threads in which a young
boy plays with a toy fighter plane. Musician, Richy Midnight,
the artist's brother, composed the sound component. His collaboration
will also be manifested in a black icosahedron object, designed
by Lowther to function as a customized piano stool for his live
performance during the opening of the exhibition. This sculpture
will remain on view, together with Midnight's rhinestoned pants.
*This and subsequent quotations from Aline Duriaud, "I Write
My Friend; Rachel Lowther: Momenta Art" Zing Magazine, vol.
3, autumn 1999.
Threads description, IMDb.com.
About the artist>
Born in Lancashire, England, Rachel Lowther lives and works in
Brooklyn, New York. She has shown nationally and internationally,
including PR17, Berlin; Emily Tsingou Gallery, London; Gallery
Lombardi, Austin, TX; Sculpture Center, NY; Citylights, Melbourne;
Maschenmode, Berlin; Kunstlerhaus Mousonturm, Frankfurt; Rupert
Goldsworthy, NY; The Harlem Flophouse, NY; Atlanta Contemporary
Art Center; Sara Meltzer Gallery, NY; Thread Waxing Space, NY;
Bellwether, Brooklyn; The Hudson River Museum, NY; Momenta Art,
Brooklyn; Bronwyn Keenan Gallery, NY; The Approach, London; and
About PARTICIPANT INC>
PARTICIPANT INC is a non-profit exhibitions space in the Lower East side.
This exhibition is made possible
with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts,
a state agency.
Very special thanks to The Compleat
Sculptor for their generous support of this project.
PARTICIPANT INC has received generous
support from the Harriett Ames Charitable Trust, The MAT Charitable
Foundation, the Pfizer Foundation Matching Gifts Program, The
Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and numerous individuals.
Special thanks to SAM Construction,
Normal Group for Architecture, New York Lawyers for the Public
Interest and xSITE.