Monday, 19 September 2011

Overview of Year One CLFA: Sculpture

I was looking forward to sculpture because I really had no idea how I would react to it as a form. I have certainly been enjoying finding out more about sculptors and looking at sculpture. The RA did a survey of  British sculpture that was very helpful in providing a chronological context and there were some seminal pieces that really struck a chord: perhaps the Epstein Adam being the most striking (with its pronounced genitalia confronting the ornate statue of Queen Victoria). But there was also fine representations of Hepworth, Moore, Tony Cragg and Damian Hirst.

We were asked to make a clay head: I was to try and represent Adrian. The first hour of working clay was hugely satisfying. Tactile and visceral just as I had always imagined. I finished the session thinking that this was really what I wanted to do. But almost any form of sculpture is so much more than that initial tactile shaping and although I was pleased to learn about mould making and casting, I was somewhat overwhelmed by the process and felt less and less engaged as I got further away from that early enthusiastic clay work. Not surprisingly I did it all in a rush, missed a session and when finally revealed, my head snapped off at the neck. I felt it was telling me something!

Then we were asked to produce a piece of our own choosing. Again I missed a crucial session and so was left pretty much t my own devices. I would have liked to have been able to explore metalwork and welding. But instead I decided to follow my skull theme. In Wales I found a decayed sheep’s skull and created a slate box to present it. I wanted to drill out a pattern or holes to both echo the skull and allow for light rays to enter the box. I added in a  bed of natural wool and a smooth stone. The end result was pleasing and felt like a sculptural statement, but in the end was under-worked and not really thought through.  

My exposure to sculpture suffered from the usual lack of time and commitment which was always going to be the case once I had decided to plod despite the USA adventure. But even allowing for that I emerged pretty confident that it would not be a media that I would be developing.

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