Sun, 06 Dec 2020
IT’s good to hear that former Newbury sculptor Michael Fairfax is working on a commission back in his home town. He moved away some years ago, but has maintained links to the area and is a regular exhibitor in group sculpture shows here and had a memorable show at Greenham when the sounds of Newbury town and Greenham Common were recorded over a six-month period to create an aural landscape that played out inside a fuel tank.
Here he has laid out the drawings on a barn floor to create carved wooden elements before they go to the bronze foundry – “A long process of pleasure and the devil” – before the finished piece Two Rivers will appear on the wall of a multi-storey car park in Newbury.
Michael was approached by Grainger PLC, which is developing the car park near the train station as part of the Market Street development. It approached him after his details were given to it by Newbury Town Council. Some years ago he was involved with the creation of a public art strategy called Flow, when he proposed artworks throughout the town. The Peter Randall Page commission Ebb and Flow, beside Newbury Lock was the only one that made it before the recession hit all councils.
“Grainger asked me to propose a number of different designs for the multi-storey car park, which I did, the designs were sent to the town council for approval of which one design would be costed up and taken further.
“The ‘Two Rivers’ design was the favoured one, which I was really pleased with as it was mine too. I love the abstraction of the design and yet the logic and integrity behind it; the two rivers that come into Newbury, the River Kennet, including the Kennet and Avon Canal and the River Lambourn, the importance of rivers and waterways to the growth of a town is fundamental, the flow of water in the design also links to the textile industry so prevalent to Newbury the twisting and turning of waters it flows through the town.”
The sculpture will be cast in bronze in 31 separate pieces to create the whole which measures approximately 10.3 metres high by 5.4 metres wide.
“I am hand carving each section in wood before it gets sent to the foundry for casting.
“I am so happy to be creating a sculpture for the town I grew up nearby.
“My thanks to Grainger PLC and Newbury Town Council for giving me this opportunity to create a permanent artwork for town. I have public artworks throughout the UK and abroad and now I will have one in my old town makes me very happy.”
Grainger PLC associate director Rebecca Crow said: “We are proud to be part of this project which will see the installation of this contemporary art sculpture in the heart of our new development.
“Michael has combined his creative vision and his in-depth local knowledge brilliantly to design something genuinely meaningful for the local community to enjoy for years to come. We look forward to seeing the sculpture brought to life.
“I hope the people of Newbury and the environs will love it too.”