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Newbury's Shaw House grounds transformed into summer sculpture park



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Altered States: outdoor sculpture exhibition at Shaw House, Newbury until September 25. Review by GAVIN WILKINSON

This exhibition is very much about work intended for the affluent domestic outside environment and as such divides quite sharply into that which confirms what we already know (and expect to see) and work seeking new and original interpretations.

The more predictable tends towards the figurative, with a high level of craftsmanship, and there is much here to delight those who respond to what they know and like, Carol Orwin’s joyfully spontaneous Siamese cats and Diccon Dadey’s Landing Owl being two superbly rendered examples. With this in mind, I will comment on those sculptures that engaged my imaginative curiosity.

Ted Edley - Still Handsome
Ted Edley - Still Handsome

The eye-catching centrepiece of this show must be the fascinating grotesquerie of Still Handsome by Ted Edley, seeking inspiration from the ocean depths, yet convincing in luscious copper and steel.

Loki by Teresa Wells combines the factual with the abstract, as it invites the viewer to look behind the lips to the inner surface, its shape and colour more important than detail. The two reclining figures by James Dunnett are an object lesson in understanding the proportions of the human body, his Cubist approach challenging yet encompassing the suggested roundness of the male and figure figure.

Colin Underhay takes advantage of the accuracy of flat planks to laminate curvaceous, horned and bifurcated structures, which are quite abstract yet hint at animal form.

Jim Crockatt
Jim Crockatt

In Ebb and Flow, ceramicist Diana Barraclough has moved her work from a reliance on reference to the animal world, to a powerful, simple piece of abstraction that utilises her signature colour and line palette in a satisfying unity. Auroch by Jane Rickards, with its synthesis of angles and curves, encompasses the recognisable features of a great beast, without referencing specific detail.

Jim Crockatt, the exhibition curator, has a circle of large, totemic, wooden abstracts, addressing verticality and symmetry. Talking Heads is the most innovative, with its use of inlaid stones and central negative space.

The mushroom construction by Steve Bicknell pushes the boundaries, with the acceptance that nothing lasts for ever, but from decay springs new life forms.

Joanne Risely - Winged Seed
Joanne Risely - Winged Seed

Perhaps Winged Seed by Joanne Risely is most emblematic of the spirit of this exhibition by recognising the innate aesthetic of a sycamore seed and letting that do all the work, in her large, beautifully constructed response.

Jane Rickards - Aurochs
Jane Rickards - Aurochs
Carol Orwin - We are Siamese
Carol Orwin - We are Siamese
Diana Barraclough - Ebb & Flow
Diana Barraclough - Ebb & Flow
Teresa Wells - Narcissus
Teresa Wells - Narcissus
Teresa Wells - Loki
Teresa Wells - Loki
Seated Figure by James Dunnett
Seated Figure by James Dunnett
Diccon Dadey - Landed Owl
Diccon Dadey - Landed Owl
Colin Underhay - Horns
Colin Underhay - Horns
Steve Bicknell - Spores
Steve Bicknell - Spores
Steve Bicknell, Dancing Man
Steve Bicknell, Dancing Man

Open times: Saturday 30 July – Sunday 25 September, 11am – 4pm. The exhibition will be closed on Saturday, August 20 and Sunday 21 due to a private event.



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