Bovines and gut feelings

We use the term gut feeling as¬†a visceral emotional reaction to something; often one of uneasiness.¬†However this does not originate in the stomach but in the subconscious, which sends a message through the vagus nerve to the stomach. Half of our nerve cells are located within the gut and these are an important factor in […]

A newly discovered Roman Sculpture – the Fittleworth Iphigenia

This newly published paper tells the intriguing story of an important, newly discovered Roman sculpture. Click here to open (it is a 1mb file so may take a few seconds to access the archive); scroll down past the frontispiece page 1 to access the text and images on pages 2-8. A New Sculpture of Iphigenia […]

Strangling the sublime

Enthusing about the sort of things that goes through an artist’s mind in responding to¬†place¬†is thought-provoking. I biked around Hindhead’s Devil’s Punch Bowl distilling what I felt were the most visceral parts for me – a sublime landscape partially reborn, a heinous murder and narratives of good versus evil. Conan Doyle couldn’t have planned better, […]

Improvisation and carving

John Fowles’ short story The Ebony Tower introduces Henry Breasley, a veteran painter talking to his future biographer David Williams who happens to be a young, conceptual artist: ‘My dear boy. Painted to paint. All my life. Not to give clever young buggers like you the chance to show off. Don’t care a fart in […]

Roger Fry and the trap of the luxury art object

Beware the shallow gleam is a favourite phrase whilst¬†advising students of sculpture who are toying with stone. The sourcing of fine stones from all corners of the globe takes real energy. The fine polish imparted thereon, the magical colour exposed – or depth verging on the chatoyant – is often found a stage too early […]

Farewell to the Jerwood Sculpture Collection

Most of the Jerwood Sculpture Collection is being¬†auctioned at Sothebys,¬†London¬†in¬†May 2012 to ‘enhance its dedicated support of the visual and performing arts’. I suppose such reinvestment must be supported albeit cautiously, despite the collection breaking up to move to pastures new. After the death of founder John Jerwood in 1991, the vision for the collection […]

Woking, an early Epstein portrait and a link to a lost work

I happened upon Jacob Epstein’s Italian Peasant Woman in Shawl recently, part of the remarkable sculptures in the Ingram Collection of Modern British Art assembled by media entrepreneur Chris Ingram, who has enabled his home town of Woking to see art which¬†might normally grace the likes of Tate Britain, via its loan to the Marks […]

Roger Eliot Fry – why knowledge isn’t always a good thing

There is no feeling of inner life and all traces of sensibility in the handling have been polished away.¬† Surely that must be Brian Sewell commenting on a contemporary conceptual work? Did not¬†Roger Fry die in 1934? This quote is part of Fry’s consideration of this 4500 year old Dynasty IV portrait of King Chefren, […]

Poesis and immortality

What is behind the urge for making? I’ve always suspected it is something to do with our mortality and the desire to be around for longer than strictly possible, as well as just feeling like something that one needs to do. Plato’s Symposium, written around 360 B.C., ¬†considers a tea party dialogue on the meaning […]

On the tradition of pre-conceiving sculpture

This short clip is part of a¬†Documentary film¬†by Anna Thornhill. It¬†features archive footage of sculptor Alan Thornhill working on a sculpture in Putney in 1989 and the resulting work, Exodus, ¬†some 20 years later at Kingscote Park in Gloucestershire. Thornhill’s self-devised method of improvisation using clay allowed him to abandon the use of the sculpture […]

Leonora Carrington on intellectualising art

It is sad to hear Leonora Carrington has died aged 94. Her¬†recent sculpture¬†(in the link, seen here in the exhibition which she lived long enough to see open), is seemingly interpreted from the imagery of her earlier paintings. For me, it does not have the power of her two-dimensional work or earliest sculpture. Nevertheless, for […]

The Environment Series Heads

In 2006, the first of the ENVIRONMENT SERIES portrait sittings began as a logical extension to the invitations to people whose work or stance I admired. The head of Lady Philippa Scott, with her husband Peter Scott a formidable partnership for wetland conservation from their Slimbridge home, had been one of the earliest heads in […]

Angel of the North

En route for Scotland for sittings with sculptor Ronald Rae and Founder/Director of Yorkshire Sculpture Park Peter Murray as part of my sculpture series of heads, I was privileged to spend a few hours with Fenwick Lawson, an artist whose work is less well-known internationally than it perhaps should be. After training at the Royal […]

Smooth, yet not complete

One perennial issue with clay sculpture seems to be the pre-occupation with the smooth – perhaps aimed at some form of ‘finish’ – with less attention to the completeness of the sculptural form or plane, by which I mean where the surface should attempt to be visually consistent –¬†read as one – in whatever texture […]

Large Clay Sculpture: Improvisation course at West Dean

4 day course at West Dean College, West Sussex led by Jon Edgar – abandoning the use of the armature as stifling to creativity, students construct random clay elements (left) and then free-build with them… turning the clay matrix and continuing to add until forms start to emerge.¬†This technique was devised by veteran sculptor Alan […]

New film – Spirit in Mass: Alan Thornhill

SPIRIT IN MASS: Journey into Sculpture is a¬†40 minute documentary which charts Alan Thornhill’s unconventional journey into sculpture. Discovering himself to be by nature an improviser yet committed to the time-honoured language and sensuous values of sculpture, he devised a way of working which embraced spontaneity and the unforeseen. This approach has inspired sculpture students […]

quotes I warm to

quotes I warm to you are trying to intellectualise something – desparately. And you are wasting your time… That’s not a way of understanding; to make a mini-logic. It’s a visual world. You want to turn everything into an intellectual game. A visual world is totally different. Remember what I’ve said now. (But) people do […]

Writings of Harry Everington 1929-2000

Preamble: A few words are perhaps necessary to introduce the contents of this book. The background, from which I have drawn my material, is the Frink School of Figurative Sculpture, where in recent years I have been privileged to teach and learn. In the maelstrom of British Art Education over the past fifty years, there […]