Introduction: I am republishing selected posts from Cohencentric (my former Leonard Cohen site) here on AllanShowalter.com. I was impressed with Martin Ferrabee’s video realization of Leonard Cohen’s Light As The Breeze and asked him to author a guest post about this piece. This material was originally posted July 1, 2015 at Cohencentric.
Martin Ferrabee and Leonard Cohen
My name is Martin Ferrabee and before anything else I’m here as a Leonard Cohen fan. I was first introduced to Leonard’s world as an angst-ridden fifteen year old when I borrowed “Songs Of Leonard Cohen;” I saw him for the first time, two years later at Sheffield City Hall in 1974.
My background is as a sculptor having studied at St Martin’s in London and have shown my work around the UK including a Tate Gallery touring show. I taught in London for 25 years, at the same time continuing to make sculpture and graphic work.
In the nineties, I started producing super-enlarged pastel drawings from Natural Forms and became a successful artist including a major commission of six fish paintings for Sir Terence Conran, at the Great Eastern Hotel and for other businesses and homes. I’m still working from Natural Forms and have an exhibition coming up in London in October of recent work. Over the last year I have also developed more interest in narrative paintings from my extensive puppet collection and using photomontage from postcards to tell stories and illustrate ideas and feelings.
Light As The Breeze Video
Having been a huge Leonard Cohen fan all my life, it seemed obvious to take his words as a starting point for these images. This interest in story telling has now moved on another step and I have started to use my own photographs and images to produce basic video/animation/morphs and following on from my recent “From Angst to Enlightenment” morph and stop motion “Bob’s Record Collection” and I have now developed my earlier “Light as a Breeze” dandelion morph into a full blown video. (Much of my work can be found at www.martinferrabee.com. I am here to share my love of Beauty and of course Leonard Cohen.)
Light As The Breeze is one of Leonard Cohen’s most sensual and erotic songs, and I have tried to integrate into my video some universal human body shapes. Leonard refers to these parts in the song as the Delta, Alpha and Omega.
Using dandelion “fairies” as a metaphor for something ‘light as a breeze”, I have taken the stalks, seed heads and “fairies” as my basic visual building blocks to create a quasi-erotic narrative. I used about twenty still photographs morphed in pairs, then joined together, reversed in places and treated with filters to create the final montage.
The whole song moves along at a slow dreamy pace but is divided into three distinct sections. At the start Leonard describes the act of kneeling before the Alpha and Omega as an act of worship, wonderment and pleasure. This develops in the next two verses into a greater sense of self disgust and questioning of his sexual needs, having spent “too long on his knees” but this is resolved at the end where he learns that despite relationships being not always ideal “blood on every bracelet” he can still find a temporary cure for his woes “beneath that resplendent chemise”.
I have tried to reflect these three stages in the piece; light at the start, using darker more abstract forms and colours in the middle section; with a cold frosty section before the final return to ecstasy at the end.
Video: Dandelion Fairies & Leonard Cohen’s Light As The Breeze By Martin Ferrabee
Video by Martin Ferrabee