CHRISTIAN AID 'POVERTY OVER' SCULPTURE
Friday 4 - Wednesday 23 May 2012
The Christian Aid Poverty Over sculpture by Mel Howse can be seen in Salisbury Cathedral between Friday 4 - Wednesday 23 May.
Mel Howse writes:
World Poverty, and even poverty in your own back yard - it’s uncomfortable. Dare you look? – And if you do, dare you look away? Poverty is staring at us all but will we act to eradicate the problem and make ‘Poverty Over’? The issue of poverty is not straightforward; it is a complex issue. This complexity is the subject of this sculpture for Christian Aid.
'Poverty Over' explores the void between those inside the poverty trap and those privileged enough to be on the outside looking in. The nature of the sculpture is to firstly look you in the eye and then to invite you to look a little closer - to think a little harder.
The composition of the art is the biggest key to its message. Two circular vessels - forms that convey many meanings depending on orientation, shape and surface.
Of the two the most immediate is a concave, vertically orientated vessel. A shallow lens whose interior surface from a distance represents the human eye in abstract form. The eye is inverted and staring straight at you. The eye is society’s conscience and it's conspicuous. The inverted lens is both a positive and negative symbol. It represents an unbalanced view of poverty but with a hope for change by looking more deeply at the causes. Can we ignore its gaze?
Beneath the shallow lens sits a more familiarly presented vessel - a deep bowl; its interior hidden until one approaches to look down inside. From the bottom of this empty vessel, the art looks up at you - another eye but that of the poor. It cannot be seen at a distance and it is lost as you walk away. It has significantly less impact due to its
orientation. If you care to approach and look inside, you will feel its message.
The juxtaposition of the two vessels implies that one has power over the other - one overlooking the other. But one vessel could be the lid to the other.
The art invites a wider interpretation of the subject it explores. It seeks to engage by showing an image one can recognise but not in the form one would expect. It is multi-dimensional, much like poverty.
About Mel Howse
Mel Howse is a glass artist working on many public art commissions. She works closely with clients and those who use the environment for which the art is designed. Mel enjoys immersing herself in the creation of a work that speaks, is functional, and has a reason for being. She is best known for her architectural installations in glass, which use light as a constituent of the work. She also works in enamel on steel. She became a Queen’s Scholar in 2008.
Mel’s largest piece of work is the 500m2 art glass facade for Sainsbury's flagship store in Milton Keynes. More notable commissions in recent years include a sculpture for Christian Aid’s touring exhibition ‘Poverty Over’, a 20m2 kilnformed
and enamelled window for Hurstpierpont College Chapel Sussex, and carved glass doors at St Paul’s Brighton and St Nicholas’ Arundel. Mel’s most comprehensive body of work in a single location is to be found at a private chapel in Brighton for the Grace and Compassion Benedictines, which includes a glass altar. Her most unusual piece is ‘The Art Bath’. Numerous awards have been made in response to her work or the contribution it makes to larger architectural commissions. More can be viewed at her website: www.melhowse.co.uk
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