Wood, Stone, Steel and Paint
Angela Godfrey and Alan Burgess
27th July - 11th September
The sculptures Angela is showing, made throughout her long career, demonstrate how she integrates into the sculptural whole her observation of natural forms and her choice of relevant text. In addition, she is showing models, drawings and photographs of her numerous site-specific commissions and some of the originals from which castings were made.
Alan’s recent paintings and drawings reflect recurrent themes in his work: the play of light to reveal form, the use of colour both as descriptive and expressive and the celebration of the essential qualities of the chosen medium. Multiple works allow a fuller description of the subject. The increasing fascination with trees arises from both their visual qualities and an appreciation of their mechanisms for growth and survival.
Angela Godfrey - About the art that I make
I have been fortunate in the number of sculptures I have been commissioned to make throughout my career, many of which have been from architects, always for a specific site and often with a specific function. My first commission came soon after I finished my degree at Newcastle and was for an altar for a new church in St Albans and my most recent work is for the rebuilt cathedral in Longford in Ireland.
However, there have also been other sites, unconnected with architecture, including a country park and nature reserves and the most recent, the Gibberd Garden in Harlow. In these there has been the opportunity to bring together my particular interests: the study of natural forms, the use of text, the feeling for place and the integration of all these into the sculptural form. These are also the concerns I have explored in the other sculptures I make when not working on a commission.
My training in Newcastle was strongly influenced by the teaching of Victor Pasmore with its emphasis on abstract form: proportion, shape and space. This, I think, has stayed with me and is evident in all my work, from the early St Albans altar and Four Part Groups to the more recent carved reliefs with text, from the façade of Nazeing Glass to the Carryduff dove. Even in my closely observed drawings of rocks and trees, the overall design, the shapes and spaces are important to me.
The material I use is chosen to suit the commission. Early on, the fee available for a one-off sculpture such as a font or door meant the use of cast concrete, fibreglass or wood. Later I was able to choose large blocks of stone to carve and to have things cast in bronze and aluminium. Recently the open structure and reflective qualities of stainless steel have best suited the function and position of a number of pieces I have been asked to make and were made possible by working with an expert welder/fabricator.
Alan Burgess - Artist statement
I have painted throughout my life but, although the approach and content have varied from time to time, there have been two recurrent factors: the celebration of the natural world and the enjoyment of manipulating materials. Landscape has been a rich source of visual potential. The changing play of light reveals compositions with changing accents. The trees within the landscape have been an increasing focus illustrating that the necessary balance of warm and cool colours, of solids and voids, of contrasting angles can be found within a small compass. There has to be also a balance between capturing the essence of the subject and yet creating a work of art which becomes independent of the subject through its visual qualities. There is still the need for us to have a sense of wonder in relation to the natural world and through that, respect.
Between 2002 and 2004 I produced a series of paintings of the Fifty Great British Trees selected by the Tree Council to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee. These have been shown together in a number of locations forming one large multiple work. Currently I am working on a series showing the varied forms of ash trees.
From having a painting in the Young Contemporaries in 1957 and a one-person exhibition in a West End gallery in 1962, through to the present, I have continued to show my work, having held 27 solo and joint exhibitions and shown in many mixed exhibitions.
August 8th and August 22nd
11am - 2pm