Dick Barton, the mapping of South Georgia… and a solitude experiment

In 1951 Duncan Carse, the voice of ‘Dick Barton – Special Agent’, a BBC serial thriller with a huge daily audience, abruptly gave up his radio acting career to lead a six-man private Antarctic expedition during 1951-52 that planned to make the first accurate map of South Georgia. It failed to achieve this, but Carse organised a second party in 1953-54, and then a third in 1955-56. Finally, his persistence was rewarded in 1958 by the publication of a map by the Directorate of Overseas Surveys which remained the definitive map of the island until 2004. Alec Trendall was geologist on the South … Continue reading Dick Barton, the mapping of South Georgia… and a solitude experiment

On the tradition of pre-conceiving sculpture

This short clip is part of a Documentary film by Anna Thornhill. It features archive footage of sculptor Alan Thornhill working on a sculpture in Putney in 1989 and the resulting work, Exodus,  some 20 years later at Kingscote Park in Gloucestershire. Thornhill’s self-devised method of improvisation using clay allowed him to abandon the use of the sculpture armature and build freely creating a matrix with pre-prepared clay ‘elements’. His concern was to manipulate the material, to find ways of making it stand up or hold together, and through adding and taking away, to see what came. This allowed things to enter the work … Continue reading On the tradition of pre-conceiving sculpture

Leonora Carrington on intellectualising art

It is sad to hear Leonora Carrington has died aged 94. Her recent sculpture (in the link, seen here in the exhibition which she lived long enough to see open), is seemingly interpreted from the imagery of her earlier paintings. For me, it does not have the power of her two-dimensional work or earliest sculpture. Nevertheless, for the British artist who lived in Mexico City for sixty years and was adopted as one of their own, there appears to have been a growing demand for it. The Guardian journalist Joanna Moorhead is a relative of Carrington. She produced a touching film which was … Continue reading Leonora Carrington on intellectualising art

Sculpture stimulating the creativity of young people

Looking back to Summer 2006, this short film reminded me just how essential it is to be working with children from time to time. Jigsaw worked with several Herefordshire schools for those with special needs. We introduced elements: Fire, Water and Wind, and young people responded to aural stimulus. The results were fresh and lively: this picture shows some of the studies from listening with eyes closed and working with clay. Continue reading Sculpture stimulating the creativity of young people

New film – Spirit in Mass: Alan Thornhill

SPIRIT IN MASS: Journey into Sculpture is a 40 minute documentary which charts Alan Thornhill’s unconventional journey into sculpture. Discovering himself to be by nature an improviser yet committed to the time-honoured language and sensuous values of sculpture, he devised a way of working which embraced spontaneity and the unforeseen. This approach has inspired sculpture students and produced a body of challenging work drawn, in part unconsciously, from personal and shared concerns of the late 20th century. Alan Thornhill was a founder trustee and teacher at the Frink School of Sculpture. The film includes footage of a Frink School sculptors’ re-union … Continue reading New film – Spirit in Mass: Alan Thornhill