Thursday, 19 April 2012


Above is a detail of a cedar wood sculpture by Jilly Sutton. I found it on the CASS Sculpture Foundation website. No image can do justice to the glowing colour of the wood, nor to the tantalisingly beautiful surface (sand blasted?) which is aching to be touched. But it captures the whorls and rings and curls which record the sculpture's history, how a living breathing sapling became a mature tree. (Emily Young still has six magnificent carved heads on display in Berkeley Square until April 25 which, being fossilised marble,  can be handled without damage. As in Jilly's work, you see the past in the present).

Here are two images of Mars. This is not a work you stand full square in front of. Instead you explore by walking round to find another perspective

Jilly Sutton's work has been described as peaceful, tranquil. calm. What is she doing with Mars then? Perhaps because unlike most gods of war - which are malicious, destructive and destabilising - the Roman god Mars represented military power used as a way of securing peace and tranquility, It's a concept we've been using rather frequently in the last couple of decades to justify our own military interventions.

Why are sculptured heads so popular?  Artists have used marble, clay, bronze, concrete,  - even frozen blood, They've decorated cathedrals and chateaux, temples and tombs, fountains, horse troughs and sphynxes. Some are fantastical. They laugh or leer down at us from on high. Others stand close by and bear witness to an uncanny likeness to a real person dead or alive. Do we like these sculptures because they are more 'natural' than paintings, being 3 dimensional, just like us? Think of the time it took to transfer an exact likeness of a head to a flat 2-dimensional surface.

The artist has a studio on the banks of the river Dart in Devon.
'Experimenting with the 'plasticity' of wood and working with the vagaries of the organic nature on the material, never cese to be a challenge'.

 And this is  Fragment:Olivestone



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