27 February 2014 - 9 May 2014
Wednesday – Friday, 12:30 – 5:30pm or by appointment
RBS Galleries, 108 Old Brompton Road, London SW7 3RA
To explore the enduring and fundamental importance of contemporary figurative sculpture to the discipline, we are delighted to announce FIGURING, an exhibition of 3 members’ work at the RBS Galleries: Laurence Edwards FRBS, Brigitte Jurack ARBS and Brian McCann FRBS. The works in FIGURING assert the significance of figurative sculpture and its enduring ability to express the primordial (Edwards), the vulnerable (Jurack) and the poetic (McCann).
Born in Suffolk, Laurence Edwards grew up surrounded by the dramatic expanses of sky, acres of reed beds and a landscape which holds within it an expansive history reaching back to its Saxon heyday. As a postgraduate at the Royal College of Art, Edwards was awarded the Henry Moore Bursary, the Angeloni Prize for Bronze Casting and an Intach Travelling Scholarship which allowed him to travel across the Indian sub-continent to learn traditional casting techniques. On leaving the RCA, Edwards returned to Suffolk and established his foundry. He immediately started to model in clay the dead animals he found in the landscape. Coming from a family of butchers, he soon started examining carcasses and gained an extraordinarily detailed understanding of anatomy.
Over the last 25 years, he has cast using the Italian lost wax method and has developed his own unique way of working with bronze. Unperturbed by ‘mistakes’, his studio is strewn with wax body parts, materials from the surrounding landscape, tools and armatures. He amasses forms made, found or manipulated into a sort of sculptural collage amassed. The resulting rough-gashed figures are primitive, threatening and intensely physical.
Edwards studied sculpture at Canterbury College of Art and went on to obtain his MA in sculpture at the Royal College of Art under Philip King and Eduardo Paolozzi. He has widely exhibited throughout the US and UK.
Jurack’s practice (and teaching) examines notions of play and youth through both sculpture and performance. She explores the representation of youth as a period of uncertainty, unstable identity and sexual ambiguity. Her work reflects on the ‘vulnerable identities, loneliness, early responsibilities, tough competition and the potential of early success through the media (e.g. Facebook, X Factor)’ of the cultural context of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. She asserts that it is important to emphasise (and empathise) with the portrayal of youth as a time of vulnerability, especially in view of the negative connotations of ‘youth’ in today’s Britain. As recognised by Friedrich Fröbel (1782-1852), play for Jurack is the prime activity for enabling and stimulating the creative imagination. She implements this through the transformation of materials and exploration of play in the context of space.
Jurack was Henry Moore Fellow at Winchester School of Art (1993), ICI research fellow at Redcar (1998) and more recently the Prince of Wales Artist Fellow at the British School in Athens (2011). She has exhibited in museums and galleries in the UK, Germany, Ireland, Ukraine and Australia. Jurack is currently Fine Art Programme leader at Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University and has been shortlisted for the Liverpool Art Prize 2014.
McCann’s multi-disciplinary installation comprises sculpture, drawing and moving image. Together, the works both reveal and conceal aspects of the human, the animal and of the poetic space in which they co-exist. The strength of the work lies in its subtlety and in its capacity to stimulate the imagination. Concerning a Lie plays on the heroism of equestrian statuary with the horse’s grand and slightly contrived, but incomplete, pose. The sculpture requires the viewer to link the material and the immaterial, to fill in the conceptual blanks, by mentally completing the presence of the horse. The ‘Lie’ also rests in McCann’s obscure use of material. Visually, the dark shiny lower legs of the horse immediately bring to mind bronze with all its sumptuous associations. In reality, McCann works with diverse materials including clay, resin, paper pulp, wood and bronze powder: the work questions our entrenched assumptions about what we see.
Brian McCann studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art Dundee, the Royal College of Art followed by Stanley Picker Fellowship at Kingston University, London. He was awarded a 2 year Prix de Rome Scholarship in Sculpture at the British School in Rome, the first Tate Gallery Liverpool ‘Momart’ Fellowship and has exhibited nationally and internationally. Brian McCann is a Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Kingston University, London and is a regular visiting lecturer to the Royal Academy Schools and Royal College of Art Sculpture School in London.
Brian McCann FRBS sadly passed away days after the opening of the exhibition. Our sympathy and condolences go to his family, friends and colleagues.