Monthly Archives: October 2016

Exhibition visit: ‘Metallic’ at Burghley House

I visited this exhibition when in the area with friends who weren’t quite as interested in the sculptures as I was, so it was a bit of a quick tour around them. I forgot to photograph the labels and information is sparse on the internet, so I don’t know the artist for most of the works.

There was a mix of sculptures with some looking contemporary and others looking quite dated.

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These pieces were all by different artists and all quite interesting, but it confirmed to me that whilst I enjoy rusty surfaces, I like pieces to also have a contrast with the rusted surface, so most sculptures made entirely out of rusted steel don’t appeal to me. The exception to this was one of their permanent sculptures of a face.

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This sculpture did work for me using rusted steel alone. The incomplete face and the surface being made out of small sheets of steel with gaps between them worked well. The large scale also helped, making it an imposing piece. It could maybe have had more of an expression.

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This was one of Jim Unsworth’s pieces (the reason I knew about this exhibition) and it reminded me very much of Caro’s work. This was my favourite of his three pieces here. The standing sculpture works well as a standing stone or figure, with the gaps in the piece framing and helping it to fit in with its surroundings. The colours and textures of the metal were also very pleasing.

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I wasn’t as keen on this sculpture, but it was interesting in the way it used metal to paint a picture and tell a story. I also liked the way that the cut marks on the edge of the steel had been highlighted by painting them bright green.

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A simple but effective archway. I have some plans to create an archway at our house, which I had planned to use bronze spheres welded to a steel framework. This method of joining could provide an easier and more contemporary way of joining the two materials though, so I may try using this in the future.

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Finally, this permanent sculpture was also a very interesting one which told a story. The use of stone and shiny metal provided a very striking statement and the house on a long ladder prompted many questions. I see some similarities here with my ‘residency’ sculptures which I plan to pursue further at some point.

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Exhibition visit: Grizedale Forest

Grizedale Forest is owned by the Forestry Commission and apparently has “the first collection of site-specific art in the UK” (Forestry.gov.uk, 2016), started in 1977 and now containing around 40 sculptures.

For a site which has been around for so long, you would have thought they would be geared up for directing visitors to the sculptures, but this was sadly not the case. A pretty useless map could be purchased from the visitors centre, but this contained no information on what the sculptures were, only their number and location. There was also no information on how to find the sculptures in the forest. Some were obvious, but others were off the beaten track and only marked by decaying and overgrown wooden posts – something we only discovered after walking past two or three of them and therefore missing those sculptures.

That aside, forests planted for harvesting never make very interesting walks, so adding sculptures is a good way of pepping them up a little. Due to the size of the site though, they are a bit too sparsely dotted around.

Some of the sculptures we found are detailed below. I would have found out more about them, but the official interactive sculpture guide  (Grizedale Sculpture, 2016) is also awful, so I gave up looking!

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Some Fern, Kerry Morrison, 1997 – very effective and striking sculpture

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Romeo, Rupert Ackroyd & Owen Bullet, sited 2013 – Totem like, interesting to look at briefly, but doesn’t keep my attention.

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Seed, Walter Bailey 1995 – I like the textures on this sculpture, although they could be more varied.

These sculptures like many in the forest are made entirely of wood, which do work and fit the surroundings, but don’t appeal to me as much as many other sculptures, confirming my like of mixed media in sculptures.

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Taking a Wall for a Walk, Andy Goldsworthy, 1987 – Effective, but now very overgrown so hard to see as a whole. His ambition “was for them to be absorbed back into the forest” (Grizedalesculpture.co.uk, 2016), so I guess that was the point, however a raised area nearby would be nice to be able to appreciate the shapes the wall forms.

Overall, I was glad I visited on the way home from a holiday in the Lakes on a dull day and not gone there especially to visit the sculptures. In an area of beautiful scenery this isn’t somewhere I would chose to go over walking in the nearby mountains.

References

Forestry.gov.uk. (2016). Art & Sculptures (England). [online] Available at: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/artroots [Accessed 18 Oct. 2016].

Grizedale Sculpture. (2016). Interactive Sculpture Guide. [online] Available at: http://www.grizedalesculpture.org/interactive-sculpture-guide [Accessed 18 Oct. 2016].

Grizedalesculpture.co.uk. (2016). Taking a Wall for a Walk | Grizedale Sculpture. [online] Available at: http://www.grizedalesculpture.co.uk/taking-a-wall-for-a-walk/ [Accessed 18 Oct. 2016].

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