Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Poppies Wave

Wave, a sweeping arch of bright red poppy heads suspended on towering stalks by artist Paul Cummings, which rise up from Yorkshire Sculpture Park Lower Lake, reaching over the park’s historic Cascade Bridge.

Poppies 7

The Wave, which has been on display at the park since the 5th September 2015 until this evening when it will be moved to Lincoln City Cathedral.

The original sculpture was initially conceived at the Tower of London in autumn 2014.  Over the course of its time in London, the ceramic poppies gradually surrounded the Tower with each one showing a mark of respect to the soldiers that lost their lives in the First World War.

Poppies 13

In Flanders fields the poppies blow, between the crosses, row on row, that mark our place; and in the sky The Larks, still bravely singing, fly scarce heard the guns amid the guns below.

We are dead, short days ago we lived, felt dawn and saw sunsets glow. Loved and were loved and now we lie in Flanders fields.

Take up your quarrel with the foe; to you from failing hands we throw, The torch be your to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die we shall not sleep, through poppies grow in Flanders fields. (John McCrae -1915)

Sitting Man II

Elisabeth Frink 2

Elisabeth Frink was brought up in rural Suffolk, near to an active airbase, where as a child she experienced the machine gun attack of a German fighter plane. Warfare and seeing filmed reports of concentration camps had a powerful impact on Frink, who later became an active supporter of Amnesty International. he conflicting horror and heroism of war, the dead hand of political oppression, compassion and spiritual strength are themes to which she frequently returned.

Frink had early and continued artistic success and made mainly figurative sculptures, particularly of male and animal subjects. She was more concerned with representing mankind than with portraits of individuals. In her obituary, Bryan Robertson wrote that ‘the images of a single naked male figure, standing, walking or running, say something about endurance, vulnerability and essential human nature that haunts the memory.

This display of sculptures includes a series of three Riace bronzes inspired by the ancient Greek warrior statues discovered off the coast of Riace, Italy, in 1972. Frink felt that ‘the original figures were very beautiful, but also very sinister… these were warriors who would go out and fight your battles for you, mercenaries… in other words they were thugs’.

The painted faces on these and Sitting Man II are inspired by Frink’s interest in Aboriginal art that developed after a visit to Australia. She uses the idea of a mask as ‘a way of showing that their beauty in a sense hides what they are up to’. Running Man is tall, lithe and naked. Frink said ‘my Running Men are not athletes: they are vulnerable, they are running away from something, or towards it’. The display also includes standing male figures which in turn convey strength and defiance, disorientation and fallibility.

Frink lived in Britain and France, before settling in Dorset. Her experience of different landscapes made her increasingly enthusiastic about her sculpture being shown in the open air and she was an early supporter of YSP. An open air retrospective of her work was shown here in 1983 and a memorial exhibition during 1993.

Network

Thomas Park (Network) 2

Thomas Price was born in London in 1981 and studied at Chelsea College of Art from 2001 to 2004 before completing an MA at the Royal College of Art, Sculpture School in 2006. He has exhibited widely in Europe and the USA.

Whilst studying Classics, Price found himself drawn to historical depictions of how nations represent themselves through sculpture. Through his work he searches for his own visual identity within these prestigious lines of history as a half Jamaican, half British man.

Subverting the idealised bodies typically depicted in Greek and Roman art, Price presents us with modern archetypal figures whose features are clearly Afro-Caribbean and whose clothes and attitudes are relentlessly contemporary. By rendering these ordinary figures in a classical style, Price levels out the hierarchies of Western sculpture, testing the viewer’s expectations and questioning historical social structures.

The almost three-metre tall bronze Network, the artist’s largest work to date, takes the form of a young man in casual dress, looking at his phone. Typically of Price’s sculpture, the figure stands with a relaxed posture although his facial expression opens up the potential for a far more complex internal narrative.

MoleCule Man

Jonathan Borofsky

Jonathan Borofsky’s work is figurative, and based on the human form, so that we immediately recognise its shape and are able to identify with it.

Borofsky has said that the key word to describe his sculpture is ‘archetypal’, meaning the figure does not represent one particular human being but man in general. He prompts the viewer to consider the individual in relation to others and humanity as a whole. Significantly, the figures are arranged in such a way that, although facing in different directions, they are able to communicate with each other. Whether they are shouting, conversing or singing is up to the viewer to decide.

Crawling

Sophie Ryder (Crawling)

Sophie Ryder was born in London, England, in 1963. During her childhood, her French mother travelled to Provence in the south of France where the family spent the entire summer. She studied Combined Arts at the Royal Academy of Arts where, while obtaining her diploma in painting, she was encouraged by fellow artist to develop her sculpture.

Ryder’s work includes human, animal and mythological figures, frequently melding forms to combine the attitudes and instincts of each. Anthropomorphic characters are used both to explore the human condition and as a metaphor for Ryder’s own feelings.

Over several years she has evolved an ongoing narrative around the female / mother figure of the Lady-Hare; a hybrid with the head of a hare, and its body modelled on Ryder’s own. These sculptures have the potential to forge powerful images charged with character and emotion which go well beyond representation. Two examples of her Lady-Hare, Sitting, 2007 and Crawling, 1999 can both be found in Lower Park, by the Cameliia House.

Cloaked Figure IX (1978) 

Lynn Chadwick

Lynn Chadwick was an innovative sculptor and produced his first mobile construction from aluminium and balsa wood in 1947. After his first exhibition in 1950 he was asked to produce three works for the Festival of Britain. He exhibited with several other sculptors at the Venice Biennale in 1952, where Read first used the term geometry of fear to describe the aesthetic created by the group. As one of the twelve semi-finalists for the Unknown Political Prisoner International Sculpture competition in 1953, Chadwick was given a special commendation, and at the 1956 Venice Biennale he won the International Prize for Sculpture.

Chadwick’s skill as a welder allowed him to develop a distinctive style and method of making, where a metal skin is fixed over a skeleton of steel rods. This technique enabled Chadwick to give his figurative works great vitality. The artist often portrayed human and animal figures and spoke of how he would never neglect humanity, influenced in part by his experiences in the Fleet Air Arm during World War II.

Little Girl (1987) is part of a series of seated figures made by Chadwick through the 1970s and 1980s. The flat, triangular head and face are typical of his female subjects, which seem isolated by their lack of facial expression and inability to communicate. Cloaked Figure IX illustrates the artist’s ability to use constructed bronze to suggest form and movement. The cloak conceals the figure’s limbs, adding further to the sense of separation from the viewer.

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