PMSA'S MARSH AWARDS The 2016 Shortlist for Excellence in Public Sculpture
1. REBECCA HAWKINS
Born in London in 1979, Rebecca Hawkins completed a Foundation course at Central Saint Martins (1997-8), before attending City and Guilds of London (1999-2002), where she gained a BA in Fine Art Sculpture. She then trained with M.W. Engineering at Lambourn in Berkshire, where she learnt welding and sheet metal fabrication. In 2006 she gained further experience working for Andrew Sinclair ARBS at Ridgeway Sculpture Design.
She has travelled extensively in Africa and India, and in 2008 spent three months in Nepal as a volunteer for the Esther Benjamins Trust on a charitable project to give the victims of child trafficking a future. Her work here combined art therapy with vocational training in sculptural techniques such as plaster casting, modelling in clay and 3D mosaic design.
Hawkins’ work reflects her interest in shape; she has explained ‘I have always admired the way that nature, in its elegance and economy, creates the most beautiful of forms and curves.’ Her practice spans drawing, figurative sculpture, animal portraits and furniture. She works in a variety of media including bronze, bronze resin and stainless steel. One of her most significant commissions being a 30ft stainless steel mesh site-specific spider’s web installation for Sir Frank and the late Lady Williams. She has exhibited work in London and elsewhere across the UK and participates regularly in the annual Affordable Art Fairs at Battersea and Hampstead.
Artist’s commentary: I am immensely proud to have been involved in this project, having spent a great deal of time in Nepal and developed a strong respect for the Nepali people and the Gurkhas, who give their lives to our country. The task was challenging for a number of reasons; foremost because this was my first public commission. I was responsible for everything from the plinth design and lettering to the bronze sculpture, which gave me an insight into a world of team and project management, I had not experienced before!
The commissioning brief limited the opportunity for imagination or deviation. This was because the client had a very particular vision of what they wanted: a Gurkha soldier, traditionally sculpted, cast in bronze, looking proud, and wearing the combat gear of soldiers worn in Afghanistan and Iraq to commemorate the soldiers killed since 2000 – any deviation was turned down quickly. A six year time lapse materialised following the 2008 credit crunch and the increased politicisation of the Gurkha Issue – during those years the body armour for soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq changed about 30 times, thanks to the operational challenges that they faced. Each time it changed, the maquette had to be updated and new quotes raised for casting. To introduce an element of the contemporary to the restricted brief, I collected and used clips, zips and buckles that had actually ‘served’ with soldiers in these conflicts. These were cast into the body armour, which I feel secures the figure as a totally historically appropriate Gurkha within this memorial. The siting of the memorial also changed three times. Throughout I was sure that the Gurkha should be facing south, defending Britain, but looking East towards his home in Nepal.
I have often been asked how I chose the type of face, because there are so many tribes that make up the Gurkhas – each with a very distinctive look. But I always knew the facial type I wanted, which would imbue the figure with a sense of pride and power that is endemic within a Gurkha soldier, with the kind smiling eyes that anyone who knows a Gurkha will recognise, but with a sense of iron hard grit that you simply wouldn’t mess with. At the time of unveiling the Gurkha was wearing the most up to date record of combat gear worn by British troops in campaigns since 2000.
2. ALAN HERRIOT DA MRBS
Alan Herriot graduated from Duncan and Jordanstone College of Art in 1974. He has built up an international reputation and is renown as one of Scotland’s most successful figurative sculptors.
Herriot has executed many notable commissions in Scotland including The Highland Division Piper at the entrance to the House of Bruar, Perthshire, the Memorial to Bamse, the World War II Norwegian sea dog, Montrose, and the dramatic, large equestrian bronze of King Robert the Bruce at Marischal College, Aberdeen. Other works include the Ancient Marinerand Yankee Jack for the Martime Memorial Museum, Watchet. In 2014 Herriot executed one of his most important commissions, The Black Watch Memorial at Ypres, for the centenary of World War I. One of his works Wojtek The Bear, 2015, is an affectionate tribute to the mascot of the Polish 2nd Corp soldiers and reflects Herriot’s gift for characterisation and portraiture. His fascination for portraying historical and literary figures is demonstrated in works such as Robert Louis Stevenson, 2013. Herriot has worked for The National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland as well as for organisations and individuals in Britain and Ireland, Holland, France and Norway. He also sculpted Reverend Robert Walker, Skating on Duddingston Loch, a bronze based on the iconic painting by Sir Henry Raeburn, for the Scottish National Gallery Collection.
More recent works include two boxers for Belfast City, ‘Rinty’ Monaghan World Fly Weight Champion and John Caldwell World Bantam Weight Champion and his statue of King John in King’s Lynn, Norfolk. He has just completed a three figure group portraying the Elgin Town Drummer and a statue at The National Memorial Arboretum for the Royal Army Medical Corp. Herriot is about to commence a statue of Henry Styleman Le Strange for the seaside town of Hunstanton, Norfolk, and a war memorial for Sanquhar in Dumfriesshire.
Artist’s commentary: This statue was commissioned by Brechin’s Watson-Watt Society and stands on St. Ninians Square adjacent to the Public Library. The statue shows Sir Robert Watson-Watt holding a model of a spitfire in his right hand and a model of a radar tower in his left, as he demonstrates the principle of interception. It could well be argued that Watson-Watts efforts in developing radar helped to shorten WW2 and almost certainly helped the RAF win The Battle of Britain. This piece was a delight to work on and I attempted to inject some movement by the showing the effect of the wind on his clothes. I was gratified to learn that Watson-Watt had a sense of humour. After the war, he started a business in Canada and was caught speeding by the Canadian Mounted Police using a hand held radar gun. His reaction was to proclaim to the police officer that ‘If I knew what you were going to use it for I never would have invented it!’
3. MARIAN LEVEN RSA &
WILL MACLEAN MBE, FRSE, RSA
Marian Leven studied textiles at Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen (1962- 66), where she met her husband the artist, Will Maclean. Initially she painted Scottish land and seascapes as source materials for colour, texture and design. Bringing up her family, however, she found weaving difficult, because her loom took up so much space and she therefore turned primarily to painting, working in a variety of materials, oil, acrylic and watercolour.
She describes her painting as ‘concerned with Scottish landscape and seascape, an expression of the harmony, balance and emotional interaction I experience through remembered, mythical and historic associations. The land, sea and weather absorb me.’ Leven feels that she is ‘part of a long history of people shaped by these conditions.
She was Artist in Residence at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on the Isle of Skye in 2002 and has regularly exhibited in the UK. Her prizes include the Noble Grossart Painting Prize (1997) and, with Will Maclean, the Saltire Society Award for Art in Architecture (2013). Leven’s work features in the several public collections including the Royal Scottish Academy, University of St. Andrews, Dundee University of Fine Arts Collection and Demarco European Art Foundation
Will Maclean practises drawing. painting, printmaking and sculpture. His art, which often carries a strong narrative, is rooted in his knowledge of the Scottish Highlands and his early associations with the sea. Born in Inverness, Maclean was a midshipman (1957–59) before attending Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen (1961–65), where he met his wife, Marian Leven. He then spent a year at the British School at Rome. Another period at sea in 1968 as a ring-net fisherman, led to the Ring-Net Project of over 400 drawings which was exhibited at the Third Eye Centre, Glasgow (1978), and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (1986).
In 1981 Maclean was appointed lecturer at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee, becoming Professor of Fine Art in 1994, Senior Research Fellow (2004-06) and now Emeritus Professor.
In 1997 he won the Scottish Natural Heritage Supreme Award for three Memorial Cairns in Lewis and in 1999 he claimed the Scottish Arts Council Creative Scotland Award. The British Library and Tate Artists Lives Sound Archive recorded an interview with him in 2005, the year he was awarded an MBE. In 2013, with Leven, he won the Saltire Society Award for Art in Architecture for the An Sùileachan Project on the Isle of Lewis.
Maclean’s solo exhibitions include a retrospective at Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh (1992) with accompanying monograph, Symbols of Survival. In 1999 his exhibition Cardinal Pointstravelled to the Museum of North Dakota, USA , McMaster Museum of Art, Hamilton, Ontario, and Art Gallery of Newfoundland and Labrador, St. Johns in Canada. A major solo show, Driftworks, was held at Dundee Contemporary Arts in 2001 and group exhibitions include Worlds in a Box, Edinburgh City Art Centre and Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (1994-95). Maclean is recognised as a foremost exponent of box construction art, for which he uses found objects. His work is in public collections in the UK, Canada and the USA. Maclean was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of St Andrews (2000) Honorary Fellow of the University of Highlands (2008) and Honorary Doctor of Letters University of Aberdeen (2009).
Maclean and Leven have collaborated on several installation projects including the public sculpture, Waterlines for the concourse in front of the new library at Aberdeen University. The stone monoliths reflect the prehistoric and Pictish stones of Aberdeenshire and the stone shapes are based on the waterline plans of a sailing ship built in Aberdeen, paying homage to the city’s maritime heritage.
Artist’s commentary: When we were given the opportunity to create a piece of public art for the community of Roif in Lewis we were excited. The brief was to design a work that was both commemorative and celebrative. We became involved with the crofting community and the expertise of local stone masons, carpenter, historians, blacksmith and residents with practical knowledge of the land meant that we created a team of people with a very personal involvement in the project. It was, after all, their ancestors we were remembering, men who were imprisoned for attempting to regain their land after the Highland Clearances.
We were creating a place where the present generation, who now own the land,
could celebrate and look to the future. We both have an interest in Scottish
social history and archaeology. Our own ancestors lived through the Highland Clearances and the Maclean family came from Lewis so there was a personal interest in the project.
The community chose the site on top of a hill. The stone was donated from local
crofts, the stone for the arch sourced by a local historian/craftsman, the
wood came from a fallen tree and the brazier was made from the railings of a
Lewis school. Walking through the sculpture, past the memorial stone the path
leads under the arch into the present, and with a peat fire in the brazier
looks to the future.
4. HEW LOCKE
Hew Locke was born in Edinburgh, UK, in 1959, lived in Georgetown, Guyana from 1966-1980, and is currently based in London. He obtained a B.A. in Fine Art in Falmouth and an M.A. in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art, London, in 1994, winning the Wingate Scholarship/Delfina Studio Award in the same year. In 2000 he won both a Paul Hamlyn Award and the East International Award.
His work is represented in many national collections including The Government Art Collection, Tate Gallery, The Arts Council of England and international collections such as The Brooklyn Museum, New York, The Arnold Lehman collection, and The Perez Art Museum Miami. In 2004 Locke’s temporary installation, King Creole, was commissioned by BBC for the launch of their New Media Village building, and later hung on the façade of Tate Britain. His solo exhibitions include The New Art Gallery Walsall in 2005, which was accompanied by a monograph. In 2011, Locke created For those in Peril on the Sea, in St. Mary & Eanswythe Church, a key work in the Folkestone Triennial that year. Another important installation for the Imperial War Museum, ‘IWM Contemporary’, directly related to his major intervention, The Tourists, on HMS Belfast, Locke’s dramatic transformation of the set tableaux.
He has shown in many group exhibitions including Sculptural Forms (2014), Manchester Art Gallery and Artist and Empire (2015-16), Tate Britain. His public art works include Ruined (2010), a series of ten cast iron grave-markers for Brunswick Square Cemetery Gardens, Bristol and Selene (2013) unveiled on the façade of the Nadler Hotel in Soho. His work Sikander was shortlisted for The Fourth Plinth in 2010 and Locke’s Nationals and Colonials series reflects his fascination with the often problematic tradition of public monuments and their context. His practice is characterised by his sharp critical engagement with issues of power, nationality, globalisation and historicism. Often referencing folk art and with recurring motifs such as boats, his work is infused with humour and satire and he utilises a wide variety of media including found objects, collage and photography.
Artist’s commentary: The Jurors was commissioned by Surrey County Council and The National Trust to mark the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta. The brief was to have a British memorial at the site, because until then the only memorials there were all American, and to create a focal point to attract visitors from the locality, the rest of the UK and globally.
The Jurors is a permanent artwork designed for this ancient landscape. It is formed of 12 bronze chairs, each decorated with two panels of images and symbols relating to justice, the rule of law and equal rights.
The Jurors is not a memorial, or a parade of heroes. The chairs are waiting: an open invitation for you to sit down, reflect on the implications of the histories and issues depicted, and to debate the conflicting meanings and applications of justice. These are open-ended and ever-changing.
The landscape and the idea of Magna Carta are welded together in one experience by the actions and thoughts of the visitors. You become part of the artwork in a simple but profound way. People complete the piece.
The imagery was chosen to attract and engage different nationalities and language speakers, getting people with differing ideas to come to this historic place of meeting. In my public art works the reception of the public is at the forefront of my mind. I aim to make things that are beautiful, to draw people in. I think about how a piece will look and may be used in 10 years time, 50 years, 100 years and 200 years time.
One can never be certain of the public reception to something you make. I have been touched by the popularity of the piece – there has always been someone there in the middle of the meadow sitting on a chair every time I have returned. The grass around the piece is well trodden.
5. DAVID MACH RA, HRSA
London-based, Scottish sculptor and installation artist, David Mach studied at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art (DJCA), Dundee (1974 -1979) and then attended the Royal College of Art, London, graduating in1982. He held his first solo exhibition at the Lisson Gallery and quickly established an international reputation creating monumental site specific sculptures from mass-produced objects such as car tyres, directories and magazines, which he transformed into life-size cars, tanks and submarines reflecting consumer-driven culture. Works such as Polaris (1983), a replica of the submarine consisting of 6000 car tyres, and Adding Fuel to the Fire (1986), vehicles surrounded by 100 tons of magazines, creating the impression of being caught in an explosion, typify this genre. Mach also produces smaller-scale works from unstruck matchsticks, arranging coloured match heads to make human and animalistic heads and masks, which he often ignites as performance art. His notable permanent public works in the UK include Out of Order (1989, Kingston-upon-Thames), the enormous Darlington Brick Train (1997) and Big Heids (1999, North Lanarkshire), while Likeness Guaranteed (1998), an urn made from coat hangers for Hamilton, Ontario and Giants (2012) for Vinadio, Italy are among those abroad.
Part-time lecturer in the Sculpture School, Kingston University (1982 -1993) and lecturer at the Contemporary Art Summer School, Kitakyushu, Japan (1987 – 1991), Mach was nominated for the Tate’s Turner Prize in 1988, and in 1992 he won the Lord Provost’s Prize in Glasgow. Elected Royal Academician in 1998, he has been Visiting Professor at the Sculpture Department, Edinburgh College of Art and in 2000 was appointed Professor of Sculpture at the Royal Academy Schools, London. In 2003 he won the RA’s Jack Goldhill Award for Sculpture and in 2004 became Professor of Inspiration and Discovery at the University of Dundee. In 2011 Mach won the Bank of Scotland Herald Angel Award for his solo exhibition Precious Light, a contemporary interpretation of the King James Bible.
Artist’s commentary: The making of Phantom was a long haul and has a long list of credits. I list them because of the sculpture’s epic nature and the fear I had for some time that it would never appear:
Dave Paterson of the local council helped me to pull out 17-18 large pieces of driftwood from Leven beach in Fife, some of them almost whole trees.
Martin Stevenson, a fabulous painter and an old friend from DJCA days, runs an engineering outfit in Aberdeen. We pieced three of the largest chunks together in his yard reinforcing the sculpture with a steel construction designed by one of Martin’s team, Edyta Kulak-Jankowska.
John Runcieman, a handy man with a chainsaw, cut and carved the chunks for me enabling those pieces to be put together and allowing me to hand carve a finish to the sculpture.
From Martin’s the sculpture was taken back down to Leven to a local farm there and with the help of my brother, Robert, and a team of Polish workers, Mariusz, Malgorzata, Ewelina and Sebastian, we nailed one and a quarter million galvanised, stainless steel and copper nails into Phantom.
I underestimated the number of nails I thought it would take to do the job by a whole million! I thought it would never appear.
Nature made this sculpture. The wind, the sun, the rain, the sea, the sand. I carved it, changed it, cut out the dead wood – in the end nailing it over one million times to describe its form, reinforcing its shape to describe it to you. It’s a very strong piece and also a brute of a thing, one of the ugliest things I’ve ever made and, of course, I love it! It has started me off on a new programme of sculpture that I think may prove to be the best pieces of sculpture I’ll ever make, all starting from and inspired by that beach, all heavily influenced from growing up in Fife with its incredible mix of landscape, seascape, nature, industry and light and of language and poetry.
6. CHARLOTTE MAYER FRBS
Charlotte Mayer was born in Prague. Her grandmother, who had trained as a sculptor under Karel Vogel, was an important formative influence, introducing her to different materials and instilling the love of nature, which became central to her oeuvre.
Arriving in England as a refugee in 1939, Mayer attended Goldsmiths School of Art (1945-9) and then the Royal College of Art (1950–1952). Her early work was figurative, until 1967, when visiting Manhattan, New York she was stunned by the ‘tall, shimmering buildings’, which inspired her to create a series of abstract sculptures in wood and black paint entitled, Black Cities. In London in the early 1970s, the smoke from Battersea Power Station also became a source of inspiration for abstract works, resulting in a series of ring-shaped sculptures in steel – Source, Cascade, Flow and Nebula. In the mid 1970s wanting to translate her Black Cities compositions into metal, Mayer took up welding and then started arc welding using scrap metal to sculpt animals and birds. Purchasing a cottage in Dartmoor at this time, reconnected her with nature, the source of much of her imagery.
Around 1979-1980 she received a commission from the pharmaceutical company, Johnson and Johnson, for their headquarters at Slough. She created, Caring Hands, a circular bronze sculpture, which after this building was sold passed to Alton Orthopaedic Hospital in Hampshire and when that too was sold, found a permanent home on the request of Dame Stephanie Shirley with the Wirral Autistic Society. Sea Circle (1984) another significant public sculpture, she made especially for the inner city area of Liverpool. Connecting with the city’s maritime history, this bronze is a wave-like spiral, with a sea-coloured green patina. In 1990 she won the competition for a public sculpture at the Barbican, City of London, with Ascent(1990) a soaring stainless steel piece, unveiled in 1991, which was awarded the Royal Society of British Sculptors silver medal. Mayer’s recent exhibitions include: The Thornflower, Salisbury Cathedral (2009); Southwark Cathedral (2011) and Pangolin, London (2012).
Artist’s commentary: This original sculpture was made in wood twenty years ago and measured 1 metre in height. Although exhibited by Pangolin London and Gallery Pangolin, it was not commissioned to be cast in bronze until 2014. In January 2015 Pangolin London received a commission for a 3 metre high enlargement of Turning for the new Bicester Office Park. The sculpture was finally unveiled on March 30th 2016.
Turning can be viewed from several directions. As such it speaks of the twists and turns of one’s journey through life. Nothing is set for ever.
7. GRAEME MITCHESON MRBS
Graeme Mitcheson is based in Leicestershire in the East Midlands. After graduating with a Fine Art degree from Loughborough College of Art in 1995, he embarked on a career as a stone carver of public art, initially gaining experience working alongside artists such as Richard Perry and David Haigh. Mitcheson creates site-specific public sculptures all over Britain and carries out numerous residencies in schools and colleges.
His first important individual commission, Cures (1999), was a 2-metre tall, hollow, Hoptonwood limestone column with a spiraling carved inscription, for Astra Zenica Pharmaceuticals in Loughborough. His following commissions include a variety of sculptures for the public realm including entrance features for parks, mooring posts, seating and sundials – an 8 tonne granite Millennium one for Countesthorpe Parish Council, Leicestershire(2000) and another in 2005 for the heritage site at Hafod Colliery near Wrexham, North Wales. Mitcheson has also carved works relating to the history of locations such as the Attacking Knight (2013) Caerphilly Castle, commissioned by Cadw and Mytilus Edulis (Mussel) (2007), a 3 metre tall piece in Kilkenny limestone, which celebrates the continuing mussel industry, for Conwy Quay, a world heritage site in North Wales. Gallops(2013), a coach and four galloping horses signalled a departure from stone carving for Mitcheson, being a 22 metre long earthwork relief in white concrete at a Key Gateway for the embankment on the approach into Lutterworth, Leicestershire, which celebrates the town’s history as a staging post for stagecoaches.
Memorials too form a large part of Mitcheson oeuvre. He created a sculptural memorial to former England football manager, Sir Bobby Robson (2011), in the centre of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, for which he was awarded the Lord Mayor’s Award for Landscape Design in 2012. He also sculpted the Memorial for the Bevin Boys Association (2010, unveiled 2013) and recently the Memorial for the Scouting Association (2015), both at the National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire.
Artist’s commentary: I was extremely honoured to have been selected to create the Naval Service Memorial and was delighted to have the unanimous backing of the RNA for the ambitious design from the very start.
I needed to design a memorial that captured the work of the Navy holistically, so I commissioned giant sails of glass, their colours representing all of the different oceans around the world. The colours – Ultramarine for the Pacific, turquoise for the Indian Ocean, white for the Arctic and Southern Oceans and steely grey with spume lines for the Atlantic, would rise out of the ground and project their coloured shadows onto a white granite terrace. The shadows change their hues, their length and their alignment with one another over the course of a day and throughout the year. For a couple of hours around midday on sunny days, the negative shapes created by the individual shadows of the sails, merge together to form the outline of a battleship on the terrace before the sun moves once more and the shadows begin to disperse. Visit the memorial in summer to see the sun illuminating the sails and creating short strong colourful shadows. Attend the same spot in the winter months and you are invited to wade through the long blue watery shadows, the colours of the oceans, that now stretch across the entire granite terrace.
Another key theme was ‘At the going down of the sun, we will remember them’. At one end of the memorial, a carved stone sailor stands alone, facing west, head bowed in respect, in front of a yellow glass panel representing the morning sun. At the opposite end, a deep red panel – sunset.
Inspiration for my work often comes from unusual sources. No more so than in this piece where the idea to create the ‘shadow ship’, stemmed from observing the outlines of shapes created by the shadows of the washing on the lawn at home as my wife pinned it out.
One of the challenges with this memorial was to maintain the simplicity of the design with so much happening within it. This is something that I was conscious of throughout and is echoed in the carving of the Kilkenny Limestone sailor – no rank, no gender, bell-bottomed trousers and cap behind his back, the only detail required.
8. DAVID NASH OBE RA
A sculptor, land artist and draughtsman, David Nash studied at Kingston College of Art (1963), Brighton College of Art (1964-1967) and then at Chelsea School of Art (MFA, 1969-1970). After graduation, he settled at Blaenau Ffestiniog, North Wales. His first solo exhibitions at Elizabeth Hall, York and at Oriel, Bangor, Wales in 1973 led to a series of exhibitions across the UK. While overseas shows in 1980 at Elise Meyer Gallery, New York and at Galleria Cavallino, Venice, Italy, established his international reputation. His work is held in over 100 international collections, including Cube, Sphere, Pyramid, purchased for the Tate Gallery by the Chantrey Bequest for the nation in 2000. He was made a Royal Academician in 1999 and awarded an OBE for services to the arts in 2004.
Nash has a holistic approach, believing his work to be a collaboration with nature. His primary material is unseasoned wood, which he uses in both temporary and permanent land-based works. Using wood made available naturally by storms, lightening or disease Nash excavates the tree by means of a ‘wood quarry’, employing the basic processes of sawing, carving and charring to find meaningful forms. He also makes growing works including the iconic Ash Dome (1977), planted as saplings and now a mature dome space in North Wales, and sculptures that interact with animals, such as Sheep Space (1993), TICKON centre, Denmark. Many of his solo exhibitions all over the world included site-specific projects.
His first charred works were made in Japan in the early 1980s. Charring carbonises the surface, which, when treated with preservative and linseed oil, gives the open-air sculptures longer life. Three Black Humps, commissioned by Meadow Arts and the Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust in 2015, is currently at the Museum of Iron in Ironbridge. In 1999 Nash began making some works in bronze, using earth and fire in the process. These sculptures, with their patina resonant of smoke and ash, echo some of his works in wood.
Nash’s work has featured in numerous international key group exhibitions, including The Condition of Sculpture, Hayward Gallery, London (1975), British Sculpture in the Twentieth Century, Part II, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (1981) Survey of Recent International Painting and Sculpture, Museum of Modern Art, New York (1984) and Here and Now, Serpentine Gallery, London (1995). Recent major solo exhibitions include David Nash at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield (2010-11), David Nash at Kew Gardens, Kew Gardens, London (2012-13) and David Nash, Kukje Gallery, Seoul, S. Korea (2014-15).
Throughout his career he has maintained a studio in the town of Blaenau Ffestiniog, where he continues to work with the seasons and elements.
Artist’s commentary: Usually the idea for a sculpture for a particular location is there, waiting to be recognised. The particular circumstances of the site at the University of Warwick were:
The 60 acres of newly planted broad leaf trees on a site chosen as one of 60 across the UK to create an exclusive Diamond Wood by the Woodland Trust, to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
The first view of the wood was as a field of young trees, seen from the Coventry to Kenilworth cycle route and walkway, between a single large oak tree and a new dewpond. The young trees were barely visible. The space was calling out for a column to signal that there was planting.
The column would need to take account of the changing environment around it as the trees grew. The trees would bring more wildlife, birds, bats and insects. A habitat for these creatures inspired the idea.
For the first two decades the column will be quite prominent visually but as the trees behind it grow to maturity it will merge into the environment and, I hope, be more secure for birds as a shelter. I imagine the main residents will be bats, which like the vertical slots to roost in as well as the open space around it for feeding on insects.
Another factor to take into account is that the seven-metre high sculpture would be unguarded and students may be tempted to climb it, hence the habitat spaces are only at the top, out of reach for hand and foot holds.
The wood was carved with a chainsaw in sweeping movements, keeping a lot of its natural shape, The holes and crevices have been cut in such a way that all the water will drain off.
I had recently acquired a very large Cedar tree, felled by a severe storm in the winter of 2014. Cedar wood is excellent for outdoor sculpture, being one of the few woods that resists fungus, and thus was perfect for realising the idea for Habitat.
The sculpture, which forms part of the University of Warwick’s Art Collection, also marks the University’s 50th anniversary.
9. PETER RANDALL-PAGE RA
Peter Randall-Page was born in the UK and studied sculpture at Bath Academy of Art from 1973–77. Over the following years he has gained an international reputation through his sculpture, drawings and prints. He has undertaken numerous large-scale commissions and exhibited widely. His work is held in public and private collections throughout the world including Australia, Eire, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, USA, Spain, South Korea and Turkey. A selection of his public sculptures can be found in many urban and rural locations throughout the UK including London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Bristol, Oxford and Cambridge and he is represented in the permanent collections of the Tate Gallery, Victoria & Albert Museum and the British Museum. His work, Give and Take, in Newcastle won the 2006 PMSA’s Marsh Award for Excellence in Public Sculpture.
As a member of the design team for the Education Resource Centre (The Core) at the Eden Project in Cornwall, Peter influenced the overall design of the building incorporating an enormous granite sculpture Seed at its heart.
Recent commissions include Harmonic Solids for the University of Music, Karlsruhe (2013) Source at Southmead Hospital Bristol (2013), Theme and Variation commissioned by the University of Birmingham for the façade of the Bramhall Music Building (2014) and façades at the new Laboratory building at Dulwich College designed in collaboration with Grimshaw architects (2016).
Artist’s commentary: Our ability to convey meaning to one another, through time and space, by making marks has revolutionised human culture and society.
The One and The Many is a monumental new public sculpture commissioned for the recently opened Fitzroy Place development in London. The sculpture comprises a 25 tonne, 3.5m high naturally eroded granite boulder, inscribed over its entire surface with marks carved in low relief. These marks represent writing systems from the earliest cuneiform script active 5,000 years ago in ancient Mesopotamia to those still in use today.
The texts themselves are creation stories from the various cultures, each conveyed in their own writing systems. Creation and origin stories are common to all human societies and one of the earliest uses of written language was almost certainly to set down these stories by making marks on clay, papyrus and vellum. Trying to imagine ‘the beginning’ is an impossible task and imagining the unimaginable has produced a wealth of poetic musings and epic narratives. These myths and legends have been distilled by a kind of ‘cultural natural selection’ over countless generations and as such they often tell us more about the human condition; our hopes and fears, than about literal cosmology.
The naturally eroded boulder chosen for the sculpture is a fragment of solidified magma, its overall form being the result of innumerable chance events over a geological timescale stretching back to the creation of the Earth itself. The abstract marks on its surface embody human creativity, giving meaning to the stone in an imaginative transformation of ‘dumb’ matter.
The human desire to make the world meaningful seems to be ubiquitous and intrinsic to our very nature. An inevitable result of human consciousness is an awareness of our own mortality and endings imply the existence of beginnings. The One and The Many is an exploration of the ways in which we have mused on the problem ‘in the beginning’.
More information about the origins of the writing systems, including full translations in English can be found at The One and The Many
10. CONRAD SHAWCROSS RA
Conrad Shawcross was born in 1977 in London, where he currently resides and works. He studied at the Chelsea School of Art (1996), the Ruskin School of Art (1998) and the Slade School of Art (2001) The artist has undertaken several residencies including the Science Museum from 2009-2011 and the Urbanomic residency, Falmouth, 2010.
His first public realm commission Space Trumpet, installed in the atrium of the refurbished Unilever Building in London in 2007, won the Art & Work 2008 Award for a Work of Art Commissioned for a Specifc Site in a Working Environment. Shawcross has won other prizes such as The Jack Goldhill Award for Sculpture in 2014, and he was awarded the Illy prize for best solo presentation at Art Brussels in 2009. Shawcross has had solo presentations at the New Art Centre, Roche Court, 2015, ARTMIA Foundation, Beijing, 2014, the Roundhouse, London, 2013, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2013, Turner Contemporary, Margate, 2011 and Oxford Science Park in 2010.
His work has also been exhibited nationally as part of Art Out Loud, Chatsworth House, Derbyshire 2015, and at the Hayward Gallery 2013 and the National Gallery, London 2012. In 2015 Shawcross created a site-specific installation, The Dappled Light of the Sun, for the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition in the Annenberg Courtyard. Internationally he has shown at institutions and events including Benaki Museum, Athens (2016), MCA Sydney (2015), Sharjah Art Foundation (2015), Auckland Art Gallery (2014 – 2015), Palazzo Fortuny, Venice in 2011 and 2015, Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania, 2014, the 55th Venice Biennale, 2013, Grand Palais, Paris, 2013 and KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, 2012. Shawcross’s work is held in public collections such as The British Council, London, The David Roberts Foundation, London, MUDAM Luxembourg and the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich.
His recent public commissions include Three Perpetual Chords in Dulwich Park, London which was shortlisted for the PMSA’s Marsh Award for Excellence in Public Sculpture last year and The Optic Cloak, Greenwich Peninsula, London 2016.
Artist’s commentary: Paradigm is a bold totem for this exciting new addition to London. It is a beacon for progress and endeavour, but contains fallibility and should serve as a constant reminder of the precariousness of knowledge.
The writing of the scientific philosopher Thomas Kuhn inspired the title of the work as he described in his book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, that in order for ideas to progress old paradigms need to be toppled by new ones.
I chose weathered steel as the material for the sculpture due its utilitarian properties and its rich, honest surface, making it true to the industrial pallet of the area.
Winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on 2 November 2016