Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wednesday Artist: Laurence Edwards

I tend to work in very basic and raw environments—the elements are 
always present. My body influences the work, and the environment
 it's in does also. The sculpture is the meeting place. [. . .]
~ Laurence Edwards*

I first learned about British sculptor Laurence Edwards when his 14-foot work Beast of Burden, an altarpiece installed in 2012 at Holy Trinity Church, Blythburgh, Suffolk, was featured in an ArtWay visual meditation by freelance fine art curator Meryl Doney, who specializes in exhibitions in cathedrals, churches, and other challenging spaces. I was taken immediately by Edwards's work, and particularly by the emotional range that seems to be imbued in his pieces — dark, haunting figures (primarily male) that cannot be ignored. That Edwards often situates his sometimes greater-than-life-size figures in natural surroundings complements and enhances their effect. (See the Archive on his Website.) To see these evocative figures in person must be a truly remarkable, even moving, experience.

The wonderful film A Thousand Tides (2016), below, helps explain my reactions. In the short, Edwards describes how, in 2016, he bid farewell to one of his extraordinary, site-specific, life-size bronze figures, A Thousand Tides, when he decided to vacate his Butley Mills studios (near Orford), which he had maintained for 15 years and where he had built a foundry. Edwards also talks about his conceptual approach and casting techniques. 

(A more complete description about the creation and final disposition of A Thousand Tides is found at Edwards's blog, and includes a number of sketches and images. For additional photographs, see the section Recent Work at Edwards's Website.)

Born in Suffolk, England, Edwards did post-graduate work at London's Royal College or Art and studied casting with Sri Lankan master founder Tissa Ranagsinghe. His artistic talents have led to numerous solo exhibitions and group shows in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Spain, and the United States, as well as commissions for site-specific installations in Spain and Germany, among other places. More recently, he was the subject of The Work of Laurence Edwards by former curator John Sheeran. Edwards's awards include being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculptors (2012). 

Not content to work solely in bronze, Edwards experiments with clay and organic materials, such as grasses, and has been constructing immense heads, documenting his progress on his blog. 

Edwards also draws and paints, both in oil and watercolor. I'm especially drawn to the latter. (See the Drawings and Paintings section of his Website to view his nests, birds, portraits, and landscapes.)

Edwards's current foundry and studio, where he can be found from March through June, are in Halesworth, in northeast Suffolk. 


* Quoted from "Q&A with Laurence Edwards" in Art Collector (Australia), 2015, accessible in the Recent Press section of the Laurence Edwards page at Messum's gallery in London. That same page shows exhibition catalogues and other publications featuring Edwards's work.

1 comment:

Kathleen Overby said...

"My antennae are out and I'm just looking for the clues....." This film and his way of seeing/noticing/being/creating was fascinating. As always, thanks for curating this wonderfulness for our enjoyment and pleasure.