An astounding collection: The Rise series
Rise is a series of sculptures that stand upright and are characterised by profiles that draw undulating waveforms. The symmetrical waves separate the negative space and the stacked forms. A rhythm is created by the repeated volume and line, and the whole has a taught glass skin that separates the airspace and the mass, washing it in colour, a painted response in glass enamels.
The sculptures are a response to the fundamental order of the natural world and how it works. They consider how stuff moves, the different states of matter stuff exists as and the manner of waves, the patterns they make, and the rules they follow. The works are equally mindful of our spiritual existence and are totemic in stature, connecting the earth with the sky.
In cross-section, the form reveals a circle divided into 4 equal quarters, a cross shape. The structure suggests fundamental geometric order as opposed to random chaos. The fins are a construct that joins the wave shapes, adding body and visibility to the outline.
The glass skin begins as flat glass and is painted with glass enamels in a conscious interpretation of the energy we see around us, and these paintings are then fired to fix the intensity of glass colours, which will not fade. The process is repeated to build up the depth of colour and markings on the surface of the glass. These paintings are then cut to wrap them around the form, creating facets from which light bounces, to further reinforce the 3-dimensional form in our observation of the work. I particularly enjoy how even a small shift in the viewpoint results in a different reflection, a quality of the wavelength of light. This constantly changing view holds my attention long enough to appreciate this magic.
The Rise series follows on from Surge, a group of sculptures commissioned in 2019 to celebrate a STEAM Hub in a progressive school, to illustrate the holistic nature of science and art. Surge can be described in terms of fluid dynamics, it represents progressive ripple waves in water and vapour, formed when an object obstructs the flow. This can be represented in mathematical formulas and observed in the wakes of boats or aquatic birds or swimmers. Although the sculpture captures only 3 waves, travelling across the surface of a body of water, for example, these waves are 3 dimensional, travelling in all directions. By examining these 3 waves, we can appreciate the concept from many disciplines. Subdivisions in the study of fluid dynamics, in physics, and engineering, lead to better plane and ship design. In art we are familiar with representations of waves in works as diverse as The Great Wave off Kanagawa, also known as The Great Wave or simply The Wave, is a woodblock print by the Japanese ukiyo-e artist Hokusai, or in Totes Meer (Dead Sea) by Paul Nash, in Maori tattoos or Aboriginal art or in the mosaics of Ravenna.
Wave is a 15 m-long floating sculptural installation commissioned for a lake in the Himalayan Gardens in 2012. Wave describes invisible information which increasingly surrounds us. This information exists as communication and is passing through the space around us. Wave is red because in the colour spectrum, the colour red has a similar wavelength as the sculpture. It appears to be partly submerged in the lake in North Yorkshire and floats within a circumference to enable a limited range of configurations. Each section is super buoyant and is weighted down to float at a particular height, and the sections are chained together and anchored.
Rise 5 is the most recent in this series and was created during the lockdown in 2020. The 3 sections are outlined in a symmetrical wave, drawing an equal balance of the form taken up by the sculpture and the space that surrounds it. The glass which covers the form is painted in enamels mostly in red, and there are bruise-like markings on the skin, which become more apparent on closer inspection. These marks suggest that the natural forces are damaged, and impaired by mankind’s neglect. At the time I made this work, much consideration was being given to why the world was experiencing a pandemic, and how we might heal.