Sunday, 31 May 2015


Coded for Colour  until 27th June 2015
Pangolin Gallery N1 9AG

Recalling the Dog, 2015 Bronze Edition of 5 246 x 284 x 46 cm (c )Pangolin London
 'The craving for colour is a natural necessity just as for water or for fire. 
Colour is the raw material indispensable for life'. 
Fernand Leger, On Monumentality and Colour

Coded for Colour charts Jon Buck's intriguing journey from his early  brightly-painted resin sculptures to this striking and monumental bronze. Recalling the Dog is the highlight of the present exhibition, on show here for the first time and illustrating new techniques developed by Buck as he continues to explore colour as an important fourth dimension. He uses multiple layers of paint rubbed back in areas to give an almost thermal image of the sculpture. It appears to throb and fade, challenging our senses of sight and touch. His 'naturalism' is pared down to the brink of abstraction in an attempt to capture what Buck calls "the essence of the thing and ultimately to delight the viewer and stimulate the senses to maximum effect”.

Once upon a time Sir Anthony Caro released his sculpture Early One Morning on the world.  Until then we knew what a sculpture was. It was usually made of precious materials such as marble, silver, gold or bronze. It could be 'read' i.e. it represented a person or a place, an idea or a value. And it was so special it was often lifted high above the viewer, mounted on a base or pedestal which seemed to mark it out as untouchable. . Caro broke the rules.  In the early 1960s he began to make purely abstract works: sculpture constructed and welded in steel and aluminium, using beams, girders and other found elements, and painted them  in bright colours. Such works caused a sensation.
Decades later here is another innovation: a new and striking monumental bronze. With  highly inventive chemicals,  raw pigments, and finally with paint Jon Buck has pushed the boundaries of what can be achieved with a medium usually associated with dull bronze patinas. He releases bronze from its centuries-long  constraints.

Repository, 2011, Bronze, Edition of 10, 70 x 38 x 17 cm 
(c) Pagolin London
Repository is a joy to look at but there is more. "Powerful images elicit a feeling, an emotional response, first and foremost, and only then does that evoke an opinion, a thought or an intellectual quest". Perhaps the shape and the colour remind us of a beating heart? Perhaps it is a funeral urn? We know that a repository is specifically designed to contain treasure, sometimes briefly, sometimes for eternity. It may contain a hoard of  precious jewellery, hidden and unworn, stacked underground in vaults, safe, they say, from heists and hooligans. Or a repository may guard something of no intrinsic value at all, like paper or parchment. But a scrap of the Magna Carta or the archives of, say, a Nobel Prizewinner, make the paper or parchment precious, with a value hard to measure and impossible to reproduce. 

Mind Map (below)  is 'a mix of a scientific and mythic response to ourselves, our history and the world we inhabit', at a time when new insights into finding our way round our 'minds' confront us with hitherto unimagined exploration. 
Mind Map, 2009, Bronze, Edition of 10, 45 x 51 x 37 cm
 (c) Pangolin London

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