Andrew Holmes’s approach to the sea has more in common with Turner’s Shipwreck or Winslow Homer’s The Gulf Stream - an attitude dominated by fear. This is not nature as religion. His own experience as a child of first being five hours in an open 20 foot fishing boat in a force 10 gale off the coast of Wales, and then being shipwrecked in The Minch off Scotland in a similar boat, bears strongly on his view of the sea.
In his thousands of photographs of the sea in contrast to others his vision of water does not offer the relief to the eye of the sky, of wind, or indeed of much light. All is dark, and forbidding almost Gothic. In the four images of the sea here, the waves are fathomless; despite the fear they seem to invite the viewer in to drown.
The four large format unframed photographic prints, 1200 x 1800 mm (4’ x 6’), are arranged conjoined together in a line, 150 mm off the floor so that they are below the viewers’ eye line, as if they were passengers on a small boat. The left hand image is in direct contact with the front window glass of the gallery, so that all four images of the water are reflected in the glass in such a way that the sea appears to cross the street. The images are lit in the day and at night so that they are visible to anyone walking or driving up Tontine Street.
Holmes is Professor of Architecture at Oxford Brookes University, was formerly Guest Professor at the Technische Universitaat, Berlin, and a Visiting Scholar at the Getty Research Institute. He lives and works in London.