The Fine Art Society in New Bond Street is presenting an exhibition that tells the story of Carving in Britain from 1910 to the present day. In the early years of the Twentieth Century sculpture in the UK shifted in a dramatic new direction with the rediscovery of what Henry Moore later termed ‘direct carving’. Around this time Eric Gill had started to carve figures directly, and the more adventurous of his contemporaries also began to sculpt wood and stone in a freehand manner. In part this was a return to the practice of ecclesiastical masons and carvers in England in the 13th and 14th centuries, who were admired throughout Europe. This was a radical change from the practice of Victorian sculptors who farmed out their modelled works and statues to workshops which would produce carved using pointing machines.
Beginning in the 1920s, a younger generation that included Moore and Barbara Hepworth moved direct carving further towards a growing abstraction. Inspired by the tribal carvings they saw in the British Museum, their works were freed from the constraints of Classical conventions, instead possessing a raw and more immediate emotional vitality. Both Moore and Hepworth believed in the emotional bond that grew between sculptor and stone in working it directly, and the consequent expressive vitality the resulting carving conveyed. They also chose stone quarried from extremities in Britain that contained the identity and character of the landscape itself.
Alongside a collection of twentieth century carving, The Fine Art Society are presenting work by selected contemporary sculptors which demonstrates that the practice of direct carving in Britain is still alive today. As well as featuring works by celebrated masters such as Eric Gill, John Skeaping, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Emily Young and Peter Randall-Page, the two exhibitions also contain many lesser-known and unfairly forgotten sculptors who deserve to be recognised for their impressive vision and skill.
Artists include: Eric Gill, Louis Richard Garbe, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Eric Kennington, Frank Dobson, David Jones, Leon Underwood, Henry Moore, John Skeaping, Barbara Hepworth, Elizabeth Spurr, Joyce Bidder, Maurice Lambert, F.E. McWilliam, Ursula Edgcumbe, Antony Gibbons Grinling, Joseph Cribb, Gertrude Hermes, Sven Berlin, George Kennethson, David Kindersley, Gerald Laing, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Richard Kindersley, David Thompson, Jilly Sutton, Rob Ward, Emily Young, Lida Cardozo-Kindersley, Peter Randall-Page, Angela Palmer, Tim Pomeroy, Nic Fiddian-Green, Gary Breeze, Gavin Turk, Julian Wild, Andreas Blank, Alexander Seton and Jessica Harrison.
CARVING IN BRITAIN from 1910 to Now – Fine Arts Society – 30 November 2012 – 12 January 2013