presented as part of the exhibition "Artefact or Artifact", Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop
Psalter is an audiovisual installation consisting of a 2 channel video that presents a speculative Hebridean future. Here, the sea level and temperatures have risen and altered the ecology and behaviour of this posthuman landscape. By reflecting elements of Celtic Eschatology (including a circular understanding of time) within a futuristic context, Psalter is an attempt to explore the friction at play between the past, present and future in relation to the Scottish Landscape.
The accompanying music is a series of "Acid Psalms", Gaelic Psalms that have been deconstructed and remixed with instruments common to acid house music in order to bring these unique pieces of music into a dialogue with the 90s Acid House and free party movements, in turn highlighting these disparate subjects' similar relationships to utopian aspirations, the commons and land ownership.
Working across a diverse range of materials and processes, from Doherty’s tactile and earthy ceramics to Zurowski’s digitally rendered landscapes, they produce objects, images and sounds that bridge speculative gaps between a hypothetical ancient past and an imagined future.
Although, in both form and content, their work is very different, there are a number of points of connection. Doherty and Zurowski make mysterious and enigmatic works, somehow disconnected from the present, that encourage the viewer to construct narratives around them, to speculate about their function and meaning as well as consider their aesthetic and formal qualities. Their work engages with the way in which humanity shapes nature to produce culture, an act that is at once both creative and destructive. Finally, underpinning both of their work is an interest in the origins and outcomes of ritual action.
Paula Doherty and Matt Zurowski are the recipients of the 2019 Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop Graduate Bursary Awards. The two awards, one supported by Edinburgh College of Art and the other by the Fenton Arts Trust, were selected after an open call in Spring 2019. They have spent the last three months in residence at ESW producing new work. The aim of the awards is to help newly-graduated artists to establish themselves after leaving college, and encourage contemporary sculpture practice in its widest sense.
Words: Dan Brown, Curator of Research at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop