Project: A modelled organic abstraction of the human form – Research

Henry Moore

Henry Moore is the most obvious sculptor to look at when investigating the organic abstraction of the human form, with the majority of his sculptures being of reclining figures.

Photograph © Andrew Dunn, 18 July 2005.

Photograph © Andrew Dunn, 18 July 2005.


The surfaces of his sculptures are often smooth and many of my initial drawings in this part of the course are similar to his works in this way. The sculptures of his that I prefer though are those with more texture, like the two above.

Barbara Hepworth

Barbara Hepworth often used the human form for inspiration. Her early work was very figurative, but became more and more abstracted, with ‘The Family of Man’ coming a long way from the initial forms.

P1010701 P1010700

I really like this work, the basic forms, the holes through the pieces, and the textures of the surfaces, all of which work brilliantly in bronze.

Jean Arp

Jean Arp created sculptures which reflected natural forms, although he created the form without a finished product in mind and titles his work afterwards, so his work is more relevant to the second project in this stage.

Tony Cragg

Tony Cragg sometimes uses the human figure for inspiration. Personally, I find his wavy sculptures interesting, but the overall effect is too overwhelming and discordant for my taste.

By Ninadanilova (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Ninadanilova (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

John Isherwood

His artist statement says that “he does not imitate the body” (Isherwood, 2016), but many of them do have an obvious human form or organic shape influence. He works in stone, carving the surface with sinuous lines or grids to add texture and emphasise the shape and form of the pieces. Whilst stone carving is not an avenue I am going to explore, I particularly like the surface textures he uses in his ‘Truth’ and ‘Aletheia’ sculptures. From his website it is also interesting to see how his drawings explore similar patterns and textures to his sculptures, an area I need to develop myself.

Peter Randall-Page

Peter Randall-Page creates large organic shaped masses out of stone, again using surface texture to provide interest and accentuate the form.

By Anders Sandberg from Oxford, UK (Chain of events) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Anders Sandberg from Oxford, UK (Chain of events) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

His ‘Beneath the skin’ sculpture (above) is very similar to my back sketch and could well have had the same influences.


In ‘Seed’ (above) and ‘Fruit of mythological trees’, he explores themes similar to some of the artists I follow – Geoff Rushton and Anna Whitehouse – taking inspiration from seed pods, or microscopic photographs of pollen. This is an avenue I hope to have chance to explore also at some point.

William Tucker

For William Tucker, the human figure plays a large part in the shape of his sculptures. Some are more figurative than others, many are abstracted into barely recognisable forms. I’m not a great fan of his work though, I think it is the uniformity of the surface texture and bronze patina which puts me off and makes them look more like amorphous lumps.


By Kamahele (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (], via Wikimedia Commons


Of the work I have looked through in researching this area, the only sculptures from the organic abstraction of the human form which hold much appeal to me are those by Barbara Hepworth (and they have gone a long way from the original). I like the use of abstract figures in sculpture, but have yet to find many more abstracted forms which appeal. There are elements I can take from the other artists though.


Isherwood, J. (2016). Statement | Jon Isherwood. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Jun. 2016].

Randall-Page, P. (2016). Peter Randall-Page, british artist. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Jun. 2016]. (2016). William Tucker | Artist | Royal Academy of Arts. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Jun. 2016].

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