Contemporary sculpture and three-dimensional art have come a long way.
No longer are we hampered by tradition and convention – but they often inspire us, nevertheless. Artists have moved away from purely naturalistic representation and experimented with geometric pattern and shapes, movement, space, narrative and political commentary, among many other themes.
The panoply of contemporary sculptural styles includes geometric abstraction, cubism, suprematism, de stijl, dadaism, constructivism, futurism, surrealism, pop-art, formalism, abstract expressionism, installation art... we could go on. And British regional artists are fine exponents of many of these approaches, as well as inventing their own variations and innovations.
Clay sculpture is one of the most diverse of sculptural media, perhaps because clay has been used to make art objects longer than any other material. Our summer show artists approach clay (stoneware, earthenware, porcelain, raku, paper clay) with different messages through diverse techniques. The perfect geometry and cosmic grandeur of Emma Falcke's stoneware vessels and raku spheres contrast with the sensitive sculpting and tender expressions of Angela Sidwell's wild animals, born of her passionate belief in their preservation.
Our three Featured Artsts, all based within 20 miles of the gallery, perfectly exemplify this variety of media and inspiration: two of them draw on natural landscape as their source and the other on stories and ancient legends.
Wendy Farnham's new and exclusive 2023 Avebury Range derives from the ancient history of her Wiltshire home, basing form and decoration on the symbols connected with the Neolithic Avebury burial mounds, dating back up to 6000 years. A fusion of cultures, ancient and modern, underpins her practice. The result is an extraordinarily eye-catching range of ceramics that combine primitive symbols and forms with a mid-20th-century, retro twist of design and colour. She treats hand-built earthenware in a porcelain-like fashion, contrasting light and dark, on internal and external sufaces.
Meanwhile, the 20th-century beauty found on his studio doorstep, here in the South Cotswolds, provides the inspiration for Colin Hawkins' vessels in his new Cotswold Landscape Range, created exclusively for us. Filled with the hues and shades of nature, found in the fields and hedgerows, the swirled and blended colours of these pieces create an abstracted feeling of movement and an impression of the flora and fauna of summer scenes.
Completing the trio, the cultural sources Jim Pilston draws on for his papier-mâché figures and creatures vary greatly – ranging from passion plays, mummers and medieval carvings to the stories, pictures, films and children’s TV programmes of his 1970s Cotswolds childhood. The result is an entrancing, eclectic mix of figures and humorous characters, beautifully painted and, like Colin's glass, modelled almost exclusvely from upcycyled materials. Once again, we bring you visual and tactile diversity. A summer feast of imagination and artistic endeavour. Every piece hand-made and unique. And a reminder of the inventive talent in our midst that could really do with your support in these hard economic times.
Take Form: official dates are 15 June to early July, but new work will be on show from early June and be added well into July, so do come and take a look.