RACHEL LOWTHER
CASTLE SPIKE

November 2 - December 14, 2003

PARTICIPANT INC
95 Rivington Street
New York NY 10002
(917) 488 0185

Gallery hours:Wednesday-Sunday, 12-7 pm.


   

If the bomb does drop, I want to be pissed out of my mind and straight underneath it when it comes.
-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 projectile machines.

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 powerless father.

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 Chamber, NY.

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.

 

 

   

 

 
 
 
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