I’m not a fan of statues. Too often they represent a defunct empire, colonialism, and men men men men men (to quote Mary Beard in a documentary some time last year). That or delicate flower women, often with a naked breast or two on display if not actually totally in the buff. I make an exception for the ones that move if you shut your eyes …
From Dr Who episode 10, Blink. BBC 2007 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByPrDPbdRhc accessed 28/04/19.
There are some beauties though, or at least the detail and the skill that went into the execution of them. I’m thinking particularly of the representation of transparency as in this piece by Giovanni Strazza. When you remember it’s carved from marble, the achievement becomes all the more remarkable.
Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Veiled_Virgin accessed 3rd May 2019.
But there aren’t any of those locally. So far, I’ve found a lion, a snake, a gargoyle of sorts, and a dragon, and some of these are more outdoor furniture than statue. A visit to a garden centre where there is usually a plethora turned up nothing but fountains, and the one on the boundary of Brighton and Hove is so tall, I couldn’t get it in one photo shot. There is, however, a very statuesque heron near the Adur estuary that I hope might qualify.
4th May. Warm-up biro lion. This lives down the road in front of someone’s house. I think I may have drawn the little-known Lion-Poodle cross.
Buddha. He’s in my porch so I’m not sure he qualifies as a statue. I can’t lift him though, if that’s part of the definition. I’ve fudged the toes on his left foot because even ‘live’ they’re inopportunely positioned and not obviously toes.
Big Bird. This is actually a carving and it sits looking out over the Adur estuary near Shoreham. It’s probably my favourite statue.
I drew the first one (on the left) using just a stump that I’d used to blend conte in the previous drawing. Then I used a sharpened piece of conte to bring out some detail. It went down hill a little after that, and for some reason I found the head and beak ridiculously tricky to place – too short and a wee bit comedic. The second, looser drawing feels closer to the spirit of that quiet, dignified bird.
14th May and I suddenly had in my head an image which I set out to find using Henry Moore as the search term. It delivered nothing but when I put ‘hollow man’ into the box, this was top of the list.
I’m beginning to wonder about the difference between a sculpture and a statue but I’m beginning to think it has to do with celebrity and movement. Statues tend (in my limited view) to be of notables, whether actual or mythic, who are frozen in some representative pose, while sculptures seem to be more emotionally fluid with a sense that movement has just paused and they represent that, or they position themselves for all of us and not just one hero. This one absolutely epitomises melancholy; the huge emptiness, the desolation and head drooping loneliness of it, and its ordinariness.
I have to be done with statues, time is a little pressing at the moment and the assignment needs the bulk of what’s available. I’ll come back to this bird though, it deserves better.