Galleries - June 2010

SCULPTURE among them, along with a range of younger or more unfamiliar names, all of excellent quality. Moving further south to Asthall Manor at Burford in Oxfordshire, owner Rosie Pearson has, over the last ten years or more, used stone sculpture to help her in the process of transforming an atmos- pheric but run-down 17th C. manor house (once home briefly to the Mitfords) into a very cont- emporary Cotswold idyll by the river Windrush. Trebling in size since it first started, as a biennial show 8 years ago, the 26 sculp- tors and 100+ pieces in this year’s ‘ On Form ’ event are, as ever, of a uniformly high standard, with Peter Randall-Page, Bridget McCrum and Emily Young among them. Going right down to the south coast now we encounter the place which, 20 years or more ago, perhaps did more than anything to transform our ideas of the scul- pture park from the worthy but unexciting to the intensely stimu- One of the most interesting artistic phenomena of the last decade or so has been the rise and rise of a regional network of private, cou- ntry house sculpture parks and art galleries. It is a logical develop- ment perhaps of the English pas- sion for visiting stately homes on the one hand and, on the other, the fact that there are far more of them than the National Trust can ever possibly support – too many with not quite enough (or, in some cases, virtually nothing) left within them that might prove attractive enough on their own to bring in the visitors in the numbers re- quired for their continued costly maintenance. It is certainly very much to the advantage of both the artistic community and the gallery- going and collecting public, es- pecially when it is done with the kind of style and pzazz of the particular examples of the genre to which I’d like to draw your attention in this article, their geo- graphical spread a fair indicator of their popularity with the public. My necessarily brief analysis does no justice though to the first of my examples, Newby Hall near Ripon, a magnificent and beaut- ifully looked after Adam country house that has remained in private hands since it was built 250 years ago. Here the owner/curator Luci- nda Compton has been putting together, for some years now, a superb and pretty large (c.60 pieces) annual sculpture display in the parkland, attracting some really big names in the field, Anthony Caro and William Pye lating and dramatic, the Cass Sculpture Foundation at Good- wood. Situated on a gentle escar- pment of the South Downs near Chichester, this is the place (founded by the dynamic William Cass) that has set the pace for all the others, with virtually every British sculptor worth his or her salt having been shown here at one time. Nor is it all displayed out of doors now either, a beautiful, purpose-built gallery in the grou- nds also putting on a full pro- gramme of exhibitions,currently a show of new, younger, artists. Finally moving out west, to Gloucestershire, there is Gallery Pangolin, near Stroud. Not so much a sculpture park, the setting of this gallery attached to a famous foundry in a steep-sided, wooded valley, is so delightfully bosky as to make you feel you are! Their latest show, entitled ‘Stirred for a Bird’, showcases the work of 15 artists inspired, as the title suggests, by bird forms. With names as diverse as Steve Dilworth, Lynn Chadwick and Geoffrey Dashwood, it is a lively and ravishing show as we enter these magical days of early summer. As a footnote, for London's sculpture enthusiasts, there are some outstanding exhibitions currently on in Cork Street, with William Turnbull at Waddington, Lynn Chadwick at Beaux Arts and Laurence Edwards at Messum's. M ichael McManus, ‘Giant Conkers’, Newby Hall Steven Dilworth , ‘Bird’, soapstone (enclosed Robin), unique 10cm at Gallery Pangolin 12. GALLERIES JUNE 10