Self-portrait in Front of the Burning Cathedral

Burnt yellowwood
125 x 75 x 16cm

The image of a golfer, alone on the course, becomes a bourgeois reimagining of St. Paul, the hermit saint in Christian tradition. The image is printed with linocut onto a sheet of flat bread, made using a recipe for communion hosts, using a book press.

The bread is a symbol of nourishment, both physical and spiritual, despite offering it in only its most basic and one-dimensional form.

“Portrait of Ideal Self as St. Paul the Hermit, Except Not so Poor and Hungry and Naked and Lonely and Cold is a relief print on a sheet of bread, akin in both substance and design to the communion offering but depicting a figure engaged in a leisure activity. Bread is a basic unit of substance and signifier of spiritual nourishment, yet only represents meaning. It has none in and of itself.

St. Lawrence? Communion bread? Has Lawrence gone all religious on us? The gallery is, after all, art’s church. This is where a form of aesthetic communion is practiced. This is where we gather to drink wine and hear nominated spokespeople muse on the meaning of it all. The substance of the offering depends in some part to the faith we place in the institution that houses it, and of course the person handing us the sacrament. Communion bread is either metaphysical and full of meaning, or vacuous and in dire need of some Marmite.”

Excerpt of text by Matthew Freemantle