Portrait sculpture – conscious, subconscious, unconscious?

Worthing Museum had an interesting sculpture exhibition on in 2011/12, featuring the Latvian-born Dora Gordin (1895-1991) – she later changed this to Gordine – who settled in London after studying music and art in Paris. It is co-curated with Dorich House, where the artist lived and where the Gordine archive continues to reside in the care of Kingston University’s Brenda Martin. I’ve got a soft spot for Worthing’s permanent collection and visiting after a year’s gap since exhibiting there, it was lovely to see the work of one artist in the top gallery space. Gordine’s portrait heads sometimes seem to have … Continue reading Portrait sculpture – conscious, subconscious, unconscious?

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

Large Clay Sculpture: Improvisation course at West Dean

4 day course at West Dean College, West Sussex led by Jon Edgar – abandoning the use of the armature as stifling to creativity, students construct random clay elements (left) and then free-build with them… turning the clay matrix and continuing to add until forms start to emerge. This technique was devised by veteran sculptor Alan Thornhill, who found this way of working allowed ‘absolutely anything to emerge’, rather than using the constraining hand of the pre-conceived idea.  This course was last run in 2011 (you can download the detailed course notes here: https://www.westdean.org.uk/resources/longdetails/4D1937.pdf ) For more information on forthcoming courses by Jon Edgar … Continue reading Large Clay Sculpture: Improvisation course at West Dean

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