A hauntingly simple single-channel projection, Marion Coutts’ ‘Everglade’ consists of a series of isolated scenes of people walking, sitting and generally relaxing in the green expanses of suburban parkland. Contained within a miniature bubble of light, whose foggy outline resembles the delicately etched vignette of a Thomas Bewick woodcut, Coutts’ cameos evoke an eternal England – a lost Arcadia of false nostalgia – but also, in their preternatural glow, conjure up an ethereal image of Elysian Fields, in which bodies at leisure and in repose – enjoying a brief moment of reflection, or contemplating the sunset years of retirement – are bestowed with a glimmer of the afterlife. (The name Coutts gives to her project not only suggests a sacred place beyond the reach of death but also the more mundane, slightly melancholy designation of a rest home for the elderly).
The extent to which a facility for projection portends a state of illumination lies at the heart of Coutts’ deceptively straightforward but subtly nuanced work, which materialises the abstract, metaphysical impulse to envisage a state of future salvation in the form of the ghostly presence of a beam of light radiating through the semi-darkness. Making a virtue of her disarmingly modest installation set-up, reminiscent of a slide-show presentation at a church hall, Coutts elegantly captures this votive aspect, invoking an act of communion between the light of the apparatus and the humble, free-standing projection screen.
‘Everglade’ was commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella in association with firstsite and Angel Row Gallery.
Supported by the National Touring Programme of Arts Council England and Arts Council England East.
Installation Photography: Firstsite @ The Minories Art Gallery.Back to Projects