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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