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laurence edwards


front cover

1. Chthonic Head, 2014–18

bronze – no. 2 of an edition of 9 110 x 55 x 65 cms  431⁄4 x 215⁄8 x 255⁄8 ins


laurence edwards The maquettes

2018

www.messums.com 28 Cork Street, London W1S 3NG Telephone: +44 (0)20 7437 5545


Laurence Edwards is a maker, a sculptor fascinated by process. As a young artist, finding ways to create art, choosing roads to go down, making decisions that were to have far-reaching implications, he focused and re-focused his interest specifically on the techniques and procedures of creating bronze sculpture. By the time he got to the Royal College of Art he was studying bronze casting under the Sri Lankan sculptor Tissa Ranasinghe (who was passing on techniques learned from the renowned Angeloni brothers, famously descended from a line of bronze casters stretching back to the Renaissance). Already he had chosen not to travel the road of chisels and Portland stone. After winning a Henry Moore Bursary, the Angeloni Prize for Bronze Casting and an Intach Travelling Scholarship, in the summers of 1989 and 1990 Edwards travelled to India and Nepal. He lived with families who had worked for generations as casters, hungrily picking up a huge grasp of techniques, furnace construction and use of materials, as well as experiencing an array of exhilarating sculptural forms. It also gave him an appreciation of immediacy, a way of responding to circumstance: ‘Casting has 2. Keep Breathing, 2018

bronze – no. 1 of an edition of 9  57 x 23 x 23 cms  221⁄2 x 9 x 9 ins


3. Breaking Sticks I, 2012

bronze – no. 4 of a series of 9 28 x 25 x 8 cms  11 x 10 x 3 ins

now worked its way into my thought process, so that I plan to solve problems at various moments. I can allow the process to make marks and leave scars, it is like another mind.’ Laurence Edwards’ appetites since those early, expeditionary days have not shed any of that inquisitiveness or singular fascination for working with bronze. The growth in years and success have brought the spread of his name, great projects, the creation of his own foundry – so the scale has certainly changed – and now the way he works, with a sizeable team, making sculpture of sometimes dramatic dimensions, means his pieces attract increasingly significant collectors and commissions. Throughout these periods of development, the freshness of Edwards’ relationship to materials and process has remained a dominant theme, and is a vital ingredient in this new exhibition of the sculptor’s work, which features a group of maquettes, working studies relating to larger sculptures. These maquettes are works of real artistic intimacy and power – as working studies they have the gift to reveal the artist in the act of making creative decisions, sometimes trying risky ideas – which means they are communicating an exciting, personal language, not quite the same dialect used by finished, large-scale works. An important part of what they have to communicate is, inevitably, Edwards’ interest in fresh ideas relating to materials and casting. There is a piece here (Endless Game Fig. 19) that uses baler twine, for example, as one of the initial ingredients (Edwards’


4. Breaking Sticks II, 2012

bronze – no. 5 of a series of 9 28 x 40 x 20 cms  11 x 153⁄4 x 77⁄8 ins

is well known for introducing different materials into his clay models, such as straw and sticks, that then get cast into bronze, producing exciting, organic forms). A further example of Edwards’ use of natural materials at the modelling stage can be seen in Breaking Sticks II (opposite), in which twigs have been incorporated in the initial clay work, and then cast for the maquette. It is a thrilling aspect of the sculptor’s work to introduce such immediate relationships to natural forms, bringing themes and ideas into the work in a strikingly direct way. Maquettes have become fundamental to Edward’s work, not only as a way of preparing a scale model for a larger sculpture but to open other possibilities: ‘I always make smaller work at the same time as undertaking a large project. This parallel activity can offer challenges, directions for the larger figures to go in, or leave reminders of ideas to pursue at a later date.’ For Edwards, maquettes are a testing ground, an experimental medium. Maquettes have played particular and important roles for other sculptors historically – sometimes as experimental preparatory ‘sketches’, sometimes as a way of producing an edition of smaller versions of otherwise unwieldy larger works. For an artist such as Auguste Rodin, producing maquettes was a vital way of achieving commissions. When in 1884 the Mayor of Calais suggested erecting a monument to the heroism of the 14th century citizens of that town, Rodin’s name was put forward and he


5. Walk Away Maquette, 2017

bronze – no. 2 of an edition of 15 24 x 16 x 6 cms  91⁄2 x 61⁄4 x 23⁄8 ins

presented his first concept in the form of a plaster maquette, before the commission was agreed, and the actual sculpture was begun – now amongst the most famous of all public works, The Burghers of Calais. Henry Moore is another artist much associated with maquettes, which in their plaster state he used as preparatory models (‘By looking at a maquette close to, I can relate it to some distant object and imagine it as huge’). These maquettes were later often cast in editions of bronze, sometimes some years later, once the full-size works had become well known, and became – and remain – highly collectible. For collectors, maquettes have always embodied layers of particular attraction. They are distillations of larger, grander works – more easily housed (and more easily afforded), and present opportunites to include in one’s collection works by an artist one might not otherwise aim to possess. They fit on shelves and desks and furniture, in a way that not all other sculpture can, inheriting a role played by smaller Renaissance bronze figures in earlier traditions of collecting. More than that, maquettes, as modes of study and experiment, can have exciting, intimate things to communicate about the creative process, and can be seen to be objects hovering much nearer to the creative decision-making process than many final full-scale works might achieve. The group of Laurence Edwards’ maquettes brought together for this show are being exhibited together with a work on quite another scale – the newly-conceived


6. Sylvan Study, 2017

bronze – no.1 of a series of 9 55 x 70 x 28 cms 215⁄8 x 271⁄2 x 11 ins

Chthonic Head. This monumental piece has a relationship to a colossal project – a 26 foot bronze standing figure currently being developed by the artist – and so finds a particularly relevant context within this exhibition, despite the piece being larger than life-size. Like the maquettes, Chthonic Head has decidedly experimental qualities. Its sense of the composed material being as much geological as being to do with the human form, introduces sweeping ideas of relationships between man and the earth, between human beings and the planets, as well as ideas of matter and energy. It is an extraordinary sculpture, full of daring and pushing notions to the edge, and linking themes that Edwards has been fascinated with in different ways for many years. The sculptor would not have been able to achieve this kind of project without the development of his own foundry. It is a rare thing for a sculptor to command a foundry on the scale of Edwards’ operation in Suffolk (in fact there are only a few in the country on this sort of industrial scale). What it means is not just being able to make massive sculptures – it’s also about the kind of direct control he has over how work is cast, the quality of what is made. Most other sculptors have to send their work off somewhere, hand it over to another factory; Edwards’ pieces are nurtured by him and his team every step of the way. It’s quite another level of quality control. Especially for someone who’s always been mad about casting in bronze. Sandy Mallet


7. Feel the Heat 1, 2017

bronze – no. 4 of an edition of 15 14 x 13 x 9 cms  51⁄2 x 51⁄8 x 31⁄2 ins


8. Feel the Heat 2, 2017

bronze – no. 2 of an edition of 15 18 x 12 x 9 cms  71⁄8 x 43⁄4 x 31⁄2 ins


9. Long Way Down, 2017

bronze – no. 3 of an edition of 15 14 x 13 x 9 cms  51⁄2 x 51⁄8 x 31⁄2 ins


10. The Patriarch, 2017

bronze – no. 3 of an edition of 15 24 x 9 x 9 cms  91⁄2 x 31⁄2 x 31⁄2 ins


11. Brooding Man III, 2017

bronze – no. 4 of an edition of 15 24 x 9 x 9 cms  91⁄2 x 31⁄2 x 31⁄2 ins


12. Brooding Man IV, 2017

bronze – no. 3 of an edition of 15 25 x 13 x 5 cms  97⁄8 x 51⁄8 x 2 ins


13. The Guardian, 2017

bronze – no. 2 of an edition of 15 24 x 9 x 9 cms  91⁄2 x 31⁄2 x 31⁄2 ins


14. Grip, 2017

bronze – no. 3 of an edition of 15 24 x 9 x 9 cms  91⁄2 x 31⁄2 x 31⁄2 ins


15. Loaded, 2012

bronze – no. 11 of a series of 12 60 x 125 x 41 cms  235⁄8 x 491⁄4 x 161⁄8 ins


16. Chase, 2009

bronze – no. 6 of a series of 9 50 x 33 x 17 cms  195⁄8 x 13 x 63⁄4 ins


17. Catcher Maquette, 2018

bronze – no. 1 of a series of 9 28 x 41 x 19 cms  11 x 161⁄8 x 71⁄2 ins


18. Fan, 2012

bronze – unique 33 x 34 x 15 cms  13 x 131⁄2 x 6 ins


19. Endless Game, 2018

bronze – no. 1 of a series of 9 30 x 18 x 14 cms  113⁄4 x 71⁄8 x 51⁄2 ins


20. All Roads, 2012

bronze – no. 1 of a series of 9 52 x 33 x 27 cms  201⁄2 x 13 x 10 5⁄8 ins


21. Creek Head II, 2008

bronze – no. 3 of an edition of 5 60 x 35 x 39 cms  235⁄8 x 133⁄4 x 153⁄8 ins


22. Creek Man Maquette, 2017

bronze – no. 4 of an edition of 15 34 x 15 x 9 cms  133⁄8 x 57⁄8 x 31⁄2 ins


23. Board Walker, 2018

bronze – no. 1 of an edition of 15 25 x 16 x 6 cms  97⁄8 x 61⁄4 x 23⁄8 ins


24. Hands on Hips, 2012

bronze – no. 4 of an edition of 12 25 x 8 x 10 cms  97⁄8 x 31⁄8 x 37⁄8 ins


25. Fragmented Head, 2014

bronze – unique 19 x 10 x 12 cms  71⁄2 x 37⁄8 x 43⁄4 ins


26. Mounted Head, 2016

bronze – no. 1 of an edition of 9 17 x 10 x 11 cms  63⁄4 x 37⁄8 x 43⁄8 ins


27. Carrier Maquette, 2017

bronze – no. 8 of a series of 15 30 x 60 x 15 cms  113⁄4 x 235⁄8 x 57⁄8 ins


28. Mirage (Patternist), 2016

bronze – no. 3 of a series of 9 64 x 31 x 20 cms  251⁄4 x 121⁄4 x 77⁄8 ins


Selected Biography • Tutors include David Thompson, Richard Rome, Anthony Caro and John Gibbons. • Studies Bronze Casting and Sculpture with Tissa Ranasinghe – Master Founder at the RCA, and Eduardo Paolozzi. • Awarded a Henry Moore Bursary, the Angeloni Prize, and an Intach Travelling Scholarship, enabling him to travel during the summers of 1989 and 1990 throughout the Indian sub-continent to study traditional methods of bronze casting and to work alongside Indian sculptors. • Solo show, The Crypt Gallery, London. 1997  •  Sets up the first USA-UK Iron Pour workshops and symposium at Yew Tree Farm Studios with Coral Lambert and Eligah Sproles from ‘Franconia Sculpture Park’, Minnesota. • Exhibits in Young British Sculptors at the Beaux Arts Gallery, Bath. • Works in St Petersburg, and exhibits in An English Perspective at the Union of Artists. 1998  •  Projections: New Sculptures by Laurence Edwards exhibition at St Edmundsbury Cathedral. • Solo exhibitions at the Chappel Galleries, Essex and at Rufford Country Park, Nottinghamshire. • Included in the Artists of Fame and Promise exhibition at the Beaux Arts Gallery, Bath. 2000  •  Organises the Ferrindipity Iron Pour at Franconia Sculpture Park, Minnesota. • Stations of the Cross series commissioned as part of the The New Sacred Art Project; Bury St Edmunds Art Gallery. • Solo exhibitions at the John Russell Gallery, Ipswich and the Lynn Strover Gallery, Cambridge. 2001  •  Projection 1, installed in the grounds of the University of Surrey. 2002  •  Included in The Darkened World exhibition at the Britten Pears Gallery, Aldeburgh Festival, which also featured the work of Sidney Nolan and Bill Woodrow. • Exhibits at Artevent, Eindhoven, Holland. • Solo exhibition at the Lynn Strover Gallery, Cambridge. • Exhibits in About Face at The Croydon Clocktower, London, alongside works by Rodin, Henry Moore, Elizabeth Frink, Antony Gormley & Tracey Emin. • Sets up Gallery 26, a small experimental exhibition space in Yoxford, Suffolk showing and curating regularly for next four years. 2003  • Curates Land & Light exhibition at Wingfield Arts, Suffolk. • Against the Tide, 15ft sculpture commissioned by Ipswich Borough Council, for the River Gipping.

2005  •  Wins the Royal Society of Portrait Sculpture Award for Grin and Bear. 2007  •  Starts to work on Giants, a new series of large figure bronzes. 2008  •  Aldeburgh Films produce documentary, BBC Radio 4 interview, BBC TV feature. • Sculptor-in-Residence, at The National Casting Centre, Alfred University, New York State, USA. • Orion, 8ft bronze installed on private land, Lourdes, Pyrenees. 2010  •  Included in British Society of Portrait Sculptors exhibition, Cork Street. • Included in ‘Naked’ group show, Brompton Road Gallery, London Royal Society of British Sculptors. • Included in Watermarks, a book by Ian Collins, published autumn 2010. 2011  •  Royal Academy Summer Show. • (In)visible mixed show (4 artists) Edel Assanti, Vauxhall Bridge Rd, London. • Art Fairs: San Fransisco, Toronto, 20-21 British Art Fair, RCA, London • Ex Lecturers Show, New University Campus Gallery, Ipswich, Suffolk. • Lord’s Wood Sculpture Show, Messum’s, Marlow. • Artists and People, Green Pebble Publications. 2012  •  Contemporary Perspectives, Mall Galleries, London. (group show, April) • Beast of Burden, 14ft wide sculpture installed on the alter at Blythburgh Church, Suffolk. • The Figure, 4 man show, Messum’s, Cork St, London (Spring). • Society of British Portrait Sculptors, Cork St, London (Spring). • Exchange, 2 man show with Maggi Hambling, Lynne Strover Gallery, Cambridge (Summer). • Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculptors. • Sculptors’ Drawings, Pangolin, King’s Place, London (September). 2013  •  Jan/Feb. Exhibition Sala Pares Gallery, Barcelona. • Messum’s Sculpture Weekend, Lord’s Wood, - selection of new large works to coincide with Cork St. exhibition. • Dedication of new alterpiece at Blythburgh Church Suffolk. Service on 26th May. • Final installation of 12 Chimp sculptures at ‘Dryland’, 96 High St, Kensington, June (open to the public). 2014  • Naked Clay, Hull • Installed ‘Carrier’ Lake Zurich Switzerland. • Toronto, Art Fair • 20–21 Art Fair RCA, London. 2016  • Solo show ‘Messums’, Cork St London. 2017  • The Maquettes ‘Messums’, Cork St London.


CDXXXIX

ISBN 978-1-910993-31-6 Publication No: CDXXXIX Published by David Messum Fine Art Š David Messum Fine Art

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without the prior permission in writing from the publisher. The Studio, Lords Wood, Marlow, Buckinghamshire. Tel: 01628 486565 www.messums.com Printed by DLM-Creative Photography: Douglas Atfield, Bill Jackson


29. Walking Men – Five Figure Studies, 2011

bronze – no. 9 of an edition of 12  25 cms  9 7⁄8 ins

www.messums.com

Laurence Edwards 2018 - The Maquettes  
Laurence Edwards 2018 - The Maquettes  
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