Roger Fry and the trap of the luxury art object

Beware the shallow gleam is a favourite phrase whilst advising students of sculpture who are toying with stone. The sourcing of fine stones from all corners of the globe takes real energy. The fine polish imparted thereon, the magical colour exposed – or depth verging on the chatoyant – is often found a stage too early in the development of the work. A preciousness emerges in both sculptor (Tolkien’s Gollum-style) and object, which has the capacity to divert from the finding of form. Those lustrous stones will be grey and lichened in two thousand years time. Will they stand the test … Continue reading Roger Fry and the trap of the luxury art object

Roger Eliot Fry – why knowledge isn’t always a good thing

There is no feeling of inner life and all traces of sensibility in the handling have been polished away.  Surely that must be Brian Sewell commenting on a contemporary conceptual work? Did not Roger Fry die in 1934? This quote is part of Fry’s consideration of this 4500 year old Dynasty IV portrait of King Chefren, which he acknowledged has great realism and is one of the finest works of the period. Later versions of the same subject deteriorate further as the vital plastic rhythms disappear: It is pure and quite unintelligent craftsmanship. Description, decoration and mechanical finish have become the … Continue reading Roger Eliot Fry – why knowledge isn’t always a good thing