Hello… where to start! Don’t worry I’ll keep it brief..
The Colossus (26ft High figure) has moved into the next phase. the bit where I start modelling. Its taken 8 months so far and i’ve planned for a three year job.. I will be modelling the surface keeping it as fresh as possible ,keeping the surface active and alive without confusing the issue, making it readable from distance and interesting up close. Marks made with the sweep of an arm now sit with thumb marks scaled up from the model, now the size of dustbin lids. Fingers scratch and claw amidst dollops and squelch’s flung from distance. The learning curve is immense..heres a brief evolution… firstly the finished polystyrene form.. lovingly carved by Tom,covered in plaster and skrim.
My first job was to effectively cover and corrupt the faithful reproduction of the maquette.
A hard thing to do considering Tom and Eva had spent 6 months creating it.
I needed to thicken the torso and find form, musculature and mass.
I decided to use grog and plaster instead of plaster, giving me a softer and more open textured surface. This is the material we use to make the moulds over the waxes, (the Investments) so I’ve manipulated and built forms with it for 30 years, its second nature to me now.
The figure will progress from a side which is organic, ‘of the earth’. To a more figurative form, the forearm and hand are an example of the more figurative elements. I was surprised that I could model relatively easily on this scale, that the anatomical knowledge in me, was scaleable…and didn’t necessarily require a whole new approach.. phew!
I want the gaze to look down to a space about 15ft in front of the sculpture (the place where, disconcertingly now, we drink wine every friday night). One eye will hopefully fix the viewer and the feeling evoked will be of reticence, inner resolve and submission to an energy or state bigger than itself. A kind of grumpy concession to the forces of nature and a steely almost judgmental questioning of the viewer who is, perhaps unknowingly, at this moment in time free of his constraints and commitment. But who will some day rejoin, re-enter that vast geological cosmic swirl.
View looking down from the access platform to Tom on the floor, its high and wobbly up there..
Meanwhile up in Doncaster at the other end of the scale the palm held portraits continue. This gruelling exercise of two days of sittings creating six wax portraits and films is mentally and physically demanding. The Miners are fascinating and to have subjects walk in sit down, tell their life stories and leave, altering me and my experience in the process, is humbling .
The idea for the finished work is evolving fast, I think it will involve fifty or so heads. made over a year.
I am having an exhibition of the work and ideas done so far in a vacant shop in The F’renchGate’ shopping centre toward to end of May into ~ June, this outing should help resolve the final plans and provide a gateway to creating the final piece.
Keith Marshall: Session 11
Dave Allport : Session 12
Mr McQuade : Session 8
Mr Tempest: Session 7.
Tom: Session 9
Anthony Busell: Session 10
I’ve continued to deliver talks and presentations as part of the consultation. I think now after 6 months of this kind of exposure I’m beginning to understand the issues and sentiments of this unique community !!
I make a presentation to the Mayor next week.
Here’s the link to the films of the sessions.. if not on the main menu you’ll find the latter sessions on the side bar amidst usual You tube detritus.. A sparkling website is being built this is a holding page operating in the meantime, Doncaster college are fantastically helpful imaginative and enthusiastic!!
The `Heveningham Hall, Niche figures’ are evolving.
Two have now been cast into bronze and the third ‘The Patriarch’ is now in wax. I like them very much, an implicit narrative has developed, it’s a life cycle. Though where it starts and finishes is never determined. The ‘Patriarch’ is a strong character, who can be looking at a new generation evolving, or his own past laid out.. the 4th and 5th figures are in clay. Six are needed to fill the 9ft Niches in this incredible 18th century Wyatt interior, its an incredible honour. I’m hoping we’ll have installed the 6ft bronzes by the Summer.
Funny, you can see the big guy through the door in the open space….
Here’s the top half of the first one..
A glimpse of the niches and the sculptures since removed..
I’ve just opened a show of maquettes in London. ‘Messums’, Cork Street. The reception has been great. Here are exerts from the catalogue, it finishes in mid April.. I will be in Australia setting up exhibitions in Sydney and Melbourne at that time.
The first show opens at ‘Mary’s Place’, Paddington , Sydney on sunday the 15th of April, The second at ‘409 Malvern Road’, Melbourne, opens on the 13th of May ending 6th of June .
Look out too for the ‘Alde Valley Spring Festival’ in Glehman, Suffolk, this year. A new gallery is being built to house the large ‘Chthonic Head series ‘, very exciting.
I’ve also modelled a small head of the Roman Emperor ‘Claudius’. The Roman bronze of which was found in the River Alde near Glemham over a hundred years ago. It was discarded by one of `Bodica’s’ Mercian soldiers after the sacking of Colchester.
A copy of the head from the British Museum will act as a centre piece for the festival this year and my offering will be shown next to it. Bronzes and plasters of the head will be available to purchase through the festival. I’ll also have a range of new maquettes and studis on show beside rthe heads.
Installing this massive ‘Chthonic Head’ in Mayfair was a challenge, he looks great in the gallery space. We’ll be showing him in Australia too.
Opening pages featuring ‘Keep Breathing’
Finally the great Irish Poet ‘Paddy Bushe’, who lives on an eroding cliff on the western coast of Southern Ireland, wrote this beautiful Poem about ‘The Carrier’.
The last edition of which sold this week. He will be spending his days in ‘Orange County’ Australia. Which sounds a far cry from these snow filled Suffolk marshes…
for Laurence Edwards
The man bends under the weight of the cuttings
He will draw home. He has spent the day hewing
The small branches and shoots that he is allowed.
The leaves and shoots will feed the cow he tethers
Because he has no grazing. The branches will keep the fire
Smouldering another day. We will manage, he thinks.
His load is tied with bits and pieces of thin rope, knotted
And tightened beyond all measure. The pack solidifies,
Its outside branches scored by pressure from the rope.
When he heaves it onto his shoulders, sinews
And branches knot into each other, the man grows
Into his load, his load an impetus that lifts him up.
Seeing him against the light, you could imagine him
Bronzed, heroic. You could see something noble in this.
next posting will feature a collection of poems by Caroline Maldonado about the ‘Creek Men’.
Well it wasn’t as short as I’d hoped, apologies for that.. see you in a month…Lx