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SOUTHAMPTON CITY ART GALLERY

19 october 2018 – 9 marcH 2019


19 october 2018 – 9 marcH 2019

Southampton City Art Gallery’s sculpture collection champions the rise of modern and contemporary British sculpture. Early modern works in the collection by Henri GaudierBrzeska, Jacob Epstein and Michael Ayrton laid the foundations for the renaissance of 20th Century British sculpture that swept through the art world at exactly the moment (1974) when Southampton Art Gallery began to acquire contemporary work. This period witnessed the emergence of a younger generation of artists working in the United Kingdom that began to receive international attention for practices which, although incredibly diverse, shared a revived interest in the sculpted object, and in the process of making. Amongst them were Richard Deacon and Antony Gormley, who emerged onto the art scene in the early 1980s. Kate Blacker, Tony Cragg and Ian Hamilton Finlay rose to prominence under the loose banner ‘New British Sculpture’, while artists, such as Shirazeh Houshiary and Cornelia Parker were forging reputations for their innovative approaches to sculpture each seeming to demonstrate an ongoing engagement with

the hand-made and the highly wrought. This exhibition deliberately focuses on each sculpture whether they were made to be exhibited within the physical space of a gallery, or the natural and urban features of the landscape. Maintaining Southampton City Art Gallery’s collection is essential so that current and future generations can appreciate and be inspired by these works and their place in art history. To make this possible the support of the general public, donors and fundraisers are of equal importance. Collections care is at the heart of this process. A dedicated team of professionals are required to maintain, conserve and present these works. Acknowledgement and thanks to the Southampton City Art Gallery Conservation Team, The George Dannatt Trust, The Gabo Trust for Sculpture Conservation and SculpCons who worked together on this project.

jacKIe SaraFopouloS Creative and Operations Director The George Dannatt Trust


George Fullard The Patriot, 1959–60 Wood and paint Photograph by Steve Russell Studios Courtesy of The Fullard Estate and Gallery Pangolin

right:

Michael Ayrton Minotaur Waking, 1972 Bronze © Estate of Michael Ayrton

opposite:

Kate Blacker Madame Dupont Relaxing, 1982 Corrugated metal, paint and packing case © Kate Blacker

Sculpture c onServatI on at SoutHampton cIty art Gallery All works of art begin to change from the moment the artist has finished working on them. Factors ranging from natural ageing, unstable materials to frequent transport and handling, or vandalism mean that even newly made sculptures require some attention. A major focus of museum conservation is preventative care, aiming to minimise deterioration before remedial action becomes necessary. This can involve monitoring and controlling gallery conditions such as humidity and light and regular maintenance. Recently the storage of some of the collection’s sculptures has been improved with the addition of fitted boxes to protect them when not on display. Developments in twentieth century art have seen artists employ new and varied materials or incorporate found objects into their work.

Conventional ones such as wood and bronze have also been utilised in new ways. This in turn can present conservators charged with caring for sculpture with new challenges as they try to ensure their interventions are appropriate to artists’ intentions. One of the advantages of conserving the work of living artists is that they can be consulted on the treatment. For Richard Deacon’s Mirror, Mirror a mock-up photo of the new rivet repairs to the metal section was sent to the artist – which he approved – supplying the same kind of rivet as originally used. Sculpture conservation is a distinct specialism requiring specific training and knowledge. Southampton City Art Gallery has benefitted from the expertise of SculpCons Ltd. and Tessa Jackson in carrying out the conservation of these works.


artIStS robert adamS (1917–84) was a sculptor, designer and lithographer. Born in Northampton, Adams first exhibited in the 1940s and his early work in wood, plaster and stone showed the influence of Henry Moore. He taught at the Central School for Art and Design in London from 1949–59. From the 1960s he began working in a geometric abstract idiom in materials such as welded steel. Later in life Adams used bronze, creating sculpture that was still abstract but smoother and more organic in form.

mIcHael ayrton (1921–75) was an English artist and writer whose varied and extensive career encompassed work as a sculptor, painter, illustrator, theatre set designer, novelist, art critic, and broadcaster. Leaving school aged 14, he enrolled at Heatherly and St. John’s Wood Schools of Art in 1937 where he met John Minton, a friend and future collaborator. He began making sculpture working in bronze in the 1950s. Much of Ayrton’s work focuses on recurring mythological themes relating to Daedalus, creator of the Cretan Labyrinth that housed the Minotaur, as well as Daedalus’ son Icarus.

Kate blacKer (b. 1955) Born in Petersfield, Hampshire, Kate Blacker studied at the Central School of Art, then Camberwell School of Art and finally the Royal College of Art. She frequently uses corrugated metal, reshaping and manipulating or painting this prefabricated industrial material to make sculptures and installations. Her series of standing figures in this material made during the 1980s are important early works. She has also realised set design projects for dance, theatre and opera. Blacker currently lives and works in France.

Madame Dupont Relaxing draws on Matisse’s paintings, mainly his Odalisques (a slave or concubine; an exotic, sexually attractive woman). Matisse was celebrated for the decorative in his paintings; unfortunately, the decorative in women’s art tends to receive negative criticism. Madame Dupont Relaxing is a ‘decorative French madame’, painted on a sheet of crumpled corrugated metal, sitting on a box! I hope the humour and the irony come through. The crumpled corrugated sheet works both as surface onto which the background and figure are painted, and the two-dimensional form from which the figure emerges from the folds of the metal, in the same way that Matisse’s figures emerge from the folds and patterns of the cloth that surrounds them and those they are wearing.” Kate blacKer

tony craGG (b. 1949) is an English sculptor recognised for his work in a wide variety of materials including stone, wood, glass, aluminium, cast bronze as well as found objects such as plastic consumer goods. Born in Liverpool, Cragg initially trained as a scientist, working as a lab technician for the National Rubber Producers Research Association before training as an artist. He studied at Wimbledon School of Art (1970–73) and the Royal College of Art, London (1973–77). Cragg was the British representative at the Venice Biennale in 1988 and won the Turner Prize in the same year. He was made a CBE in 2003.

SImon cuttS (b. 1944) is a poet, artist and publisher. Coracle Press the publishing company he started in 1975 has published many of his books of poetry and art books as well as championing the work of other artists such as Ian Hamilton Finlay and Richard Tuttle. Cutts has also produced small and often playfully humorous sculptures. He currently lives and works in Ireland.

rIcHard deacon (b. 1949) was born in Bangor, Wales and studied at Somerset College of Art, Taunton, at St. Martin’s School of Art, London and at the Royal College of Art, London. Deacon has worked with materials such as stainless steel, laminated wood, vinyl, and corrugated iron. He has

described himself as a ‘fabricator’ – emphasising the construction process of turning these raw materials into sculpture. He was awarded the Turner Prize in 1987, and made CBE in 1999. In 2014 a major retrospective of his work was held at Tate Britain.

SIr jacob epSteIn (1880–1959) was born in New York to a family of Russian-Polish ancestry. In 1902 he travelled to Paris to study at the École des Beaux-Arts. He moved to London in 1905 and became a British citizen in 1911. His brief association with the Vorticist movement gave rise to his most radical work The Rock Drill (1913–15). From the 1920s he increasingly focused on producing bronze portrait busts of notable men and women.


Ian HamIlton FInlay (1925– 2006) was a Scottish poet, artist, writer and gardener. Born in Nassau, Bahamas to Scottish parents, he briefly attended the Glasgow School of Art but first attracted attention as a poet. Finlay produced concrete poetry – where the visual presentation of the text is integral to its interpretation. His output included prints, poems inscribed in stone, books, and models. His garden Little Sparta, near Edinburgh, is an important site for his artistic practice. Frequent themes include World War II and the works of Classical writers such as Virgil, often approached with a darkly whimsical humour.

GeorGe Fullard (1923–73) was a sculptor and draughtsman. Born in Sheffield to a radical working-class background, his father was a miner, Communist and strike leader. Fullard served in World War II suffering

serious injuries during the Battle of Cassino, experiences that would mark his later artistic practice. He studied at the Royal College of Art where he would later become a lecturer. His figurative sculptures in plaster and bronze received particular acclaim from the critic John Berger. From 1958 Fullard created assemblages from discarded wood and other junk, of which The Patriot (1959-60) is probably the most important.

maGGI HamblInG (b. 1945) is a British painter and sculptor. Born in Suffolk, Hambling studied with Cedric Morris and Arthur Lett-Haines who lived locally, and then at Ipswich School of Art, Camberwell School of Art and the Slade School. Known for her vigorous portraits, Hambling was the National Gallery, London’s first artist-in-residence 1980-81. She began sculpting in the early 1990s first in clay and then bronze.

The Scallop (2003) a sculpture on Aldeburgh beach dedicated to the composer Benjamin Britten is perhaps her most famous work.

antHony HIll (b. 1930) is an English artist known for his paintings and reliefs. Hill studied at St. Martin’s and Central schools of Art 1947–51 and became associated with the group of Constructive artists including Victor Pasmore and Kenneth and Mary Martin. Hill began making reliefs in the mid-1950s. A lifelong interest in mathematics has informed Hill’s artistic output which regularly employs geometry and mathematical logic. Using the pseudonym Achill Redo he also has an alternative artistic output in a Dadaist inspired idiom.

SHIrazeH HouSHIary (b. 1955) was born in Shiraz, Iran and came to London in 1974. She rose to

prominence making sculpture in the 1980s, but her work has since grown to include painting, installations, architectural projects and films. She was short-listed for the Turner Prize in 1994. Houshiary’s art draws on a wide range of inspiration from science to Sufism. She has exhibited worldwide, including at the Venice Biennale twice (1982 and 2013).

KI is a fusion of organic and man-made form (similar to a tool, in this instance an axe head). Ki was the earth goddess in Sumerian mythology and her consort was the sky god ‘An’. Ki gave birth to god of air Enlil. In these legends heaven and earth were not separated until air was born. My inspiration was the shape of a leaf but made from copper, a material born from the depths of the earth and intermingled with the rational mind of man…. as he produced tools. As if to suggest by making tools humankind has moved from its organic surroundings to where we are today, and in the process we have forgotten our connection to the earth. That is why we continue to pollute and vandalise the planet. It was through the spectrum of consciousness that civilisations have evolved and it is important that we return to the origins of our evolution. Or, in other words, it is important to see the connection between the conscious and unconscious, between the known and unknown. SHIrazeH HouSHIary

denIS mItcHell (1912–93) was an abstract sculptor working predominantly in bronze and wood. He was born in Wealdstone, Middlesex, but grew up in South Wales. In 1930 he moved to Cornwall where he lived for the rest of his life and became a prominent member


of the St Ives group of artists. He was Barbara Hepworth’s assistant for ten years, supervising the making of some of her best-known sculptures. His own career flourished in the 1960s with his carved and polished bronzes in fluid, elegant forms.

nIcHolaS monro (b. 1932) is a British pop artist, sculptor and print-maker known for his use of painted fibreglass. He studied at the Chelsea School of Art and later returned there to teach. In 1972 his 20-foot-high fibreglass sculpture King Kong was displayed at the Bull Ring, Birmingham as part of a Peter Stuyvesant sponsored City Sculpture Projects scheme. His work was included in the 2004 Pop Art retrospective ‘Art & the 60s: This Was Tomorrow’ at Tate Britain.

davId naSH (b. 1945) is an English sculptor, land artist, and draughtsman. Nash attended Brighton College before studying at Kingston College of Art and Chelsea School of Art. Wood is the material central to Nash’s art, used in his free-standing sculptures and his more ephemeral land art. Nash has used wood in a variety of forms including unseasoned green wood, charred and blackened wood, as well as still living trees for some of his landscape works. He was elected a Royal Academician in 1999. Nash lives and works in Blaenau Ffestiniog in North Wales.

bIll WoodroW (b. 1948) was born in Oxfordshire and studied at Winchester School of Art, St. Martin’s School of Art and Chelsea School of Art. His early work was made from material found in dumps and scrap yards, partially embedded in plaster. He moved on to using consumer goods and household appliances in his sculpture. The seminal ‘cut-out’ works of the 1980s helped to build his reputation. He was a finalist in the Turner Prize in 1986. Latterly Woodrow has made bronzes rather than use found materials. He now lives and works in London and Hampshire.

antHony benjamIn (1931–2002) was a painter, sculptor and printmaker. Born in Boarhunt, Hampshire he dropped out of an engineering apprenticeship to study art at the Regent Street Polytechnic. He initially worked in a social realist style before becoming interested in using intense colours and more abstract forms. In the mid-1960s he made large sculptures from metal and Perspex. He travelled widely and lived in North America 1967-72. Musician and artist Brian Eno was a friend and pupil of Benjamin at Winchester School of Art in the 1960s.

[…] about 1979 I started to pick up stuff that was around me [...] I wanted to make work which was directly concerned with my environment, I wanted to work with new material and I realised there was this material laying around me in the streets which I walk past every day. I wanted to make a sculpture that dealt with urban violence and a kind of atmosphere, that is sometimes apparent in the area in which I live […] I realised that I could use the connection between the actual objects I’d chosen, like the electric heater and the abandoned car seat, to create a particular environment, a particular atmosphere […] Then, I could make the other objects out of them, which could complete the narrative without having to bring in other things. So the whole thing was tied together.

bIll WoodroW

left:

Tony Cragg One Stone in Four, 1977 York stone, wax crayon, Barmouth grit © Tony Cragg, courtesy Lisson Gallery cover:

Bill Woodrow Electric Fire, Car Seat and Incident, 1981 Mixed media © Bill Woodrow

SOUTHAMPTON CITY ART GALLERY

eXHIbItIon tour Tuesday 4 December | 1.30 – 2.30pm Art Gallery | £4 Please pre-book by calling 023 8083 4536 Join Derek Pullen (Director of SculpCons) for a tour of the conservation treatments which have been carried out on the sculptures displayed in In Trust: Caring for Sculpture.

acKnoWledGementS Conservation text and artists’ biographies written by Ben Hall (freelance conservator) and artists’ interviews carried out by Les Buckingham. Organised by Southampton City Art Gallery All images © copyright the artist Design: Adrian Hunt

SoutHampton cIty art Gallery Civic Centre Southampton, SO14 7LP art.gallery@southampton.gov.uk 023 8083 3007 www.southamptoncityartgallery.com Opening hours: Monday to Friday 10am – 3pm Saturday 10am – 5pm Closed on Sundays FREE Entrance

Profile for Southampton City Council

In Trust: Caring for Sculpture  

Southampton City Art Gallery’s sculpture collection champions the rise of modern and contemporary British sculpture. Early modern works in t...

In Trust: Caring for Sculpture  

Southampton City Art Gallery’s sculpture collection champions the rise of modern and contemporary British sculpture. Early modern works in t...

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