Residual dirt on glass

This large rectangular piece of glass retains dirt carried by a now abscent rainfall. Presented in front of a lightbox that generates the precise frequency of light present on an overcast day in Britain, the item implies that symbolic meaning is derived from the passing and subtle masking of the sky.

Over the years the British press made much of the sands carried by storms. Once forcasting a ‘blood rain’, the mingling of ‘African dust’ and local pollution, this sand has been the source of a number of health warnings. Its historical connection to the Illiad and symbolic association with catastrophe were not overlooked in these stories either, with writers keen to make it something of an event. Against the exotic pull of this red earth, this grey tapistry of grains suggests a patina endemic to soils that share something with the pallid sky.

In fact, black soil indicates a high quantity of organic matter, whereas indicates the presence of iron oxides. In a sense then the black earth is more alive than the red earth. Black or grey sky, a bearer of rain, could also be thought of in connection to organic matter. Empty blue skies can indicate draught, freezing conditions or unihabitable high temperatures. Perhaps this carefully created light box is trying to represent the vitality of greyness, the furtility of the British Isles and ultimately combat the assumptions we hold about brighter, more colourful climates.

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