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Carved, Cast, Constructed: British Sculpture 1951 – 1991

Posted on | By Thornton Kay
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London West, UK - Marlborough Fine Art latest exhibition traces development of post-war British sculpture from 1951-1991 from Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, to Eduardo Paolozzi and Anthony Caro, with Kenneth Armitage, Lynn Chadwick, John Davies, Allen Jones, Raymond Mason, Margaret Mellis, Victor Pasmore, Roland Piché and William Turnbull.

The international standing of British sculpture was increased by Moore at the first post-war Venice Biennale in 1948, sustained by Hepworth, and then by the 'Geometry of Fear' group of younger sculptors in 1952, a term coined by art historian Herbert Read. Chadwick’s later work Pyramids, 1962, typifies the angular, rough-edge aesthetic prevalent amongst this group.

With the holocaust and atom bombs, the morality of the artistic gesture and the language of humanism appeared to need reaffirming; Hepworth would follow a classicising abstraction, while Moore concentrated on the figure. Paolozzi and Turnbull spent time in war-ravaged Paris between 1947-1950, with the former’s junk-assembled figures reflecting Art Brut, as the latter conversely turned to pre-classical and archaeological sources, as demonstrated in Mask, 1953.

In the late 1940s, Victor Pasmore (1908-1998) assembled three-dimensional constructions on his own wall-hung works as seen in Abstract in White, Black and Ochre, 1963. In 1956 he devised a Bauhaus inspired course of Basic Design for Durham University using new unconventional materials.

In Britain this came through Caro's lectures at Central Saint Martin's to a new generation using plastics, fibreglass and prefabrication. In contrast to Caro’s use of industrial metals was Davies' figuration. During 60s, Allen Jones developed a stylized way of painting people becoming more volumetric and pneumatic as he turned to sculpture.

Towards the end of the 20th century, ‘sculpture’ transcended traditional methods and materials. Scale had been denatured, and corporality penetrated and reconstructed into its constituent elements. This deconstruction would permit ‘artists-in-sculpture’ to build solid environments to illustrate the ephemerality of assembling and dissolving bodies.

Carved, Cast, Constructed: British Sculpture
26 October - 25 November 2017
Marlborough Fine Art
6 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4BY

Marlborough Fine Art: Carved, Cast, Constructed: British Sculpture 1951 – 1991

Story Type: Exhibition Review