|"Stone in all it's Glory"|
by Humph Hack for remotegoat on 20/06/12
It's not unusual for me to visit exhibitions and think, "I could live with about 10% of what is on show". Thank goodness everybody's different…..
In the case of "On Form 2012" currently filling the gardens and some of the indoor space at Asthall Manor, near Burford, I wanted to take most of it home with me. Only the depth of my pockets and the size of my house and garden prevented me. What a show! I have never been to a better exhibition of sculpture; a more exciting catalogue of talent from the UK and across the world. And, by the way the superbly produced catalogue is worth more than the very reasonable entry fee of £7.50.
The owner of Asthall - Rosie Pearson and her co- curator Anna Greenacre have put together a mouth watering collection involving 28 Sculptors and their 169 works. All are stone, which is the exhibition's unifying element.
Part of the pleasure of a visit is the interplay between the house itself; a real gem, and the beautifully landscaped gardens. Around every corner, there is a new discovery; a new delight. Works vary in scale from the monumental to the minute. Prices go from only £150, so now you know how shallow my pockets really are. There is work which would grace the outside space of the grandest of corporate headquarters and work which could sit happily in the smallest domestic living space.
It is almost churlish to single out any of the artists in particular, but I am personally drawn to some who combine different textures, different colours or even different materials. Peter Brooke-Ball's works seem to be attempting to burst out of the constraining ropes which bind them. I enjoy the quality of craftsmanship shown in William Peers' "roundels" carved in Portuguese marble. The negative spaces of Matthew Simmonds' architectural pieces thrill me. I love Joe Smith's modest explanation of his "built up" slate pieces and Matthew Spender's combination of materials in his "head and shoulder" sculptures are just as exciting, in a different way, to his monumental statues inspired by "Lady Joan Cornwall". The latter are truly awe-inspiring. Anthony Turner combines textures rather than different materials. They are "as fresh as when the pod went pop". If the last comment makes no sense, you'll have to visit Asthall before16 July, to see why. In fact any ruse I can use to get you there is worth trying. There is so much to see. It's a fabulous show.
The ethic behind this bi-annual exhibition is the exposure of great sculpture to as wide a public as possible. Although all work is for sale, the fact that the commission taken is only 15% reflects the determination of the team to encourage world-class sculptors (in many cases at not inconsiderable expense) to bring their work to this celebration of all things stone. In a slightly altered version of the famous Michelin Green Guides - this exhibition is "worth a very very long journey".
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