Alistair Rowe is a sculptor who currently lives and works in Perth, WA. Since 2009 he has worked predominantly with the medium of glass and the ideas of fluidity and balance.
The Travelling Salesmen references architecture and the figure, serving as a kind of spatial guide that invites the viewer to reconsider their own place in space. The two person-sized cuboid structures sit in close proximity to each other. Each is constructed from four rectangular sheets of glass layered and spaced apart with small rectangular blocks and held together under tension with packing straps. Each piece is delicately balanced atop an open timber stand, precisely placed on timber bases. The fastenings, joinery and support mechanisms that hold the works together are all open to view.
At a glance, the work has reductive, minimalist associations. However with further scrutiny the surfaces and structure reveal an expansive and complex field. Natural and artificial light interact with the surface and structure of the work. The interplay of reflection, transparency, refraction and shadow creates an animated dialogue between the materials, the work, the area around the work and the gallery visitors. This overlaying and entangling of information creates a circular exchange between opposing forces that persists without end and gives rise to a visceral sense of dissolving associations and certainties.
The fact that the materials are held together by packing straps and are precariously balanced functions as a counterpoint to the dualistic exchanges that are taking place. With balance a singular clarity emerges. The work either holds together or it doesn’t: there are no in-between states.
The idea of balance forms the conceptual basis for this work. Balance is also the fundamental and practical means by which the works are constructed. By experimenting with balance, the work points to the limitations of dualistic reasoning proposing instead an intuitive and provisional approach to developing conceptual and structural certainty.
Image: Mobile Structures 005 and 004, 2014, glass, timber, eva blocks, polypropylene straps and steel seals, 178cm x 39cm x 39cm and 166cm x 31cm x 31cm. Courtesy the artist