Sculpture without Thinking

Sunday 12th March 2017

First Attempts

I’m including these in the blog as a record of how not to do artwork. The day I began working on my sculptures my house was in utter chaos. I had a friend staying, although she was out at the time, my husband was trying to do the housework around me and my daughter needed a LOT of help with her own artwork. All of this had put me in a place of total overwhelm. However, I still wanted to get my artwork made in time for the next week.

The extra pressure that I was experiencing as a result of all this chaos was that I failed to be “in the zone”. The pieces below I am including, however, two of them I have thrown in the bin in disgust – not something I usually would do.

For the first piece, I glued some Aluminium grill pans together – I was thinking about how light would reflect through them and planned to place a light inside to do some photography. From my first days work, although simplistic, I feel this is my best achievement.

Anthony Gormley

Antony Gormley is widely acclaimed for his sculptures, installations and public artworks that investigate the relationship of the human body to space. His work has developed the potential opened up by sculpture since the 1960s through a critical engagement with both his own body and those of others in a way that confronts fundamental questions of where human beings stand in relation to nature and the cosmos. Gormley continually tries to identify the space of art as a place of becoming in which new behaviours, thoughts and feelings can arise.

Damian Ortega

Damián Ortega’s work explores specific economic, aesthetic and cultural situations and, in particular, how regional culture affects commodity consumption.

He began his career as a political cartoonist and his art has the intellectual rigour and sense of playfulness often associated with his previous occupation. Ortega’s sculptures, installations, videos and actions are inspired by a wide range of mundane objects, from pick-axes to bricks, rubbish bins and tortillas, all subjected to what has been described as Ortega’s characteristically “mischievous process of transformation and dysfunction”. In Cosmic Thing (2002), one of his most celebrated works, Ortega disassembled a Volkswagen Beetle and re-composed it piece by piece, suspended from wires in mid-air, in the manner of a mechanic’s instruction manual. The result was both a diagram and a fragmented object that offered a new way of seeing the ‘people’s car’ first developed in Nazi Germany but now produced en masse in his native Mexico. In Spirit (2005), Ortega constructed a series of architectural spaces using recycled materials which, when viewed from above, spelled out the letters of the work’s title, playing with the idea of optical and physical illusion.

Mixed Media Sculpture

Phyllidia Barlow

For over four decades sculptor Phyllida Barlow has made imposing, large scale sculptural installations using inexpensive, everyday materials such as cardboard, fabric, timber, polystyrene, plaster, scrim and cement. Her distinctive work is focused on her experimentation with these materials, to create bold and colourful three-dimensional collages.

In this video Phyllida Barlow discusses the dynamic process of installation whilst placing and suspending her large-scale sculptures in the Duveen Galleries for the Tate Britain Commission 2014.

As recently as 10 years ago, the artist Phyllida Barlow was not selling work and no gallery was collecting it. In the past it was normal for her to leave a sculpture in the street and see what happened, or to break into a disused factory to install something nobody would see.

She was not represented by a commercial gallery, and her artworks – made from throwaway materials such as plywood, tinfoil, polystyrene and cardboard – were known to few people outside a narrow segment of the art world.

This week, however, her work can be seen at the gleaming galleries of Hauser & Wirth on London’s Savile Row and at Tate Modern, where it is on display in a dedicated room.

Eileen Agar

From the mid 1930s, Eileen Agar experimented with techniques and new materials to create mixed media objects and collages inspired by the ideas and processes of surrealism.

Angel of Anarchy 1936-40 by Eileen Agar 1899-1991Angel of Anarchy is a sculpture by the Argentine-born British artist Eileen Agar. It comprises a plaster cast head covered with found materials and objects such as embroidered silk fabric, feathers, sea-shells, African beads and diamante stones. While some of the elements suggest facial features, others seem more like decorative accessories or jewellery.

At times they could be read as either: for instance, feathers could be errant tufts of hair or part of an elaborate headdress. Similarly, the patterned fabric serves as skin for the face as well as a blindfold. This ambiguity creates allusions to seduction and submissiveness, although the accumulation of elements also appeals to the anarchy referenced in the title.Angel of Anarchy is displayed on top of a white pedestal under a protective Perspex case due to its fragile condition.

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