Galleries - May 2014

When sculpture parks first emerged post-war, the idea was essentially of a permanent museum collection that happened to be out-of-doors and only rarely changed. By the 80s revolution was afoot with, on the one hand Gilbert Cass’s Sculpture Foundation at Goodwood, where all the displayed pieces were for sale/commission and changed annually, on the other, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park at Bretton Hall, where it was presented as a sequence of temporary, but outside, curated exhibitions. Now, in Tremenheere , we have what may well become the model for the 21st C., a place where the ‘park’ element of the term takes on equal significance with the sculpture, not just a nice backdrop. Both the place and the work are extraordinary – an ancient, richly wooded valley rippling with streams that opens onto a spectacular view of St Michael’s Mount and Mount’s Bay. For the owner, since 1997, Neil Armstrong, a Penzance GP, this has been the starting point, his passion for landscape gardens and planting – largely sub-tropical – evolving steadily alongside remarkable sculptural initiatives which, as far as I can tell, have arrived almost by osmosis, certainly organically. This, by definition, means slow growth – just 11 at the last count – but what sculpture and what nautical paraphernalia of the canal side. In the gallery itself the beautifully conceived and arranged ‘Sculpture in the Home’ shows small scale sculpture in a domestic environment. Putting on such multi-disciplinary exhibitions is more to be expected of a public gallery with their greater resources, but the results, especially for fans of the 50’s look, is tremendous. Maybe it’ll inspire the current crop of students across the way at Central St Martins (with whom Pangolin have established links, particularly in the field of ceramics) to try and rival the creativity of that golden age. At Sladmore Contemporary, as part of the annual exhibition of the Society of Portrait Sculptors , there’s a chance to see Martin Jennings’ maquette for the 3m statue of Mary Seacole due to be prominently sited in the grounds of St Thomas’ hospital, amid much hue and cry over whether her contribution to nursing has been over-hyped at the expense of other deserving candidates. (The Scottish-Creole volunteer ran the ‘British Hotel’, a restaurant-cum- store for convalescing officers in the Crimean War.) This rather unfashionable form of sculpture should get a boost with the current interest in the Great War: there’s already a project, ‘Letter to an Unknown Soldier’, encouraging us to imagine what Jagger’s Tommy on Platform 1 of Paddington station is reading. SD 12 GALLERIES MAY 2014 2014 is the centenary of Lynn Chadwick’s birth and his long- time dealers Osborne Samuel are celebrating the occasion with a retrospective at which Michael Bird’s comprehensive monograph on the sculptor will be launched. Chadwick trained as an architectural draughtsman and his rise to fame in the early 1950’s started with him making mobiles and stabiles for building trade fairs. His approach was one of construction rather than modelling and his welded spiky pieces chimed perfectly with the ‘new vernacular’ that made its mark at the Venice Biennale of 1952. Alongside Armitage, Butler, Clarke and others, Chadwick was responsible for forging a distinctive modernist language that gave British sculpture a new and invigorating, if slightly abrasive, voice. Pangolin London ’s presence at Kings Place is a boon for the capital’s sculpture lovers. The affiliation with the foundry enables them to work closely with the artists, not only in the development of their work but also in running sculpture residencies. Pieces by recent residents, Abigail Fallis and Briony Marshall, are included in the Sculpture Trail that weaves in and out of the building (until 2 August). Arm yourself with the pamphlet to avoid missing such gems as Charlotte Mayer’s ‘Rising’ or Geoffrey Clarke’s ‘Battersea II and III’, which from a distance seem to be part of the FOCUS SCULPTURE inside and out