Mark Graver – Umbra Sumus
Taken from a quote by Horace, ‘Pulvis et umbra sumus’ (we are but dust and shadow) Umbra Sumus is an ongoing project containing photopolymer and acrylic resist etchings, video and sound works.
The work is partly a response to the death, in January 2011, of the artist’s father and to the wider human condition.
The use of shadow alludes to the movement of light, the passing of time and, ultimately, to mortality. Still images are used for the etchings while the video works allow for an actual temporal experience using the same or similar source material. The video works can be seen on Mark Graver’s web site
The use of photographs, video and found sound relates also to place, and again reinforces the idea of time. Time fixed, or recorded, in a specific place, reproduced then re-presented through video. The shadow source photographs are gathered from different places and countries to emphasise the universal correspondence of shared existence.
The more specific biographical elements contained within the works relate to personal experience of place and memory. The prints Brackendene, Five, Long Melford and Brunswick use drawings made as a five year old child, a collaboration with a younger self, (Brackendene also contains an image taken from Google Earth of the house where Graver was born), whereas Last and Garston relate directly to the last place he saw his father alive and to his father’s last resting place.
Yen Ben and Salix are the trees planted to his memory. The Suffolk Parricide, Long Melford and the Bull works are in reference to old family tree information gathered in Suffolk in 2012 – the Parricide being a famous murder case of 1739 involving distant relatives, and the Bull a pub owned by the same family relatives in 1649 ,while the Wharepuke series of works are made from photographs of shadows on the Art at Wharepuke gallery building.