Once again, FORM brings a world-class exhibition of inspiring contemporary sculpture to Dorset, says Edwina Baines. FORM runs until May 29th.
The FORM exhibition returns to the stunning setting of Simon and Monique Gudgeon’s Sculpture by the Lakes, Pallington, near Dorchester until the end of the month, to coincide with Dorset Art Weeks.
This year it is more spell-binding than ever, with work from more than prestigious artists. The exhibition takes place around the 26 acre garden and lakes for the larger, monumental pieces – and smaller works are on display in the Gallery and in the Sculpture Courtyard.
I was lucky enough to visit on a lovely sunny day and no sooner had I parked than I was faced with the arresting cast bronze ‘Greer Guardian Angel’ figure by Ed Elliott.
Greer means ‘alert, watchful’ and the sculpture has been cleverly placed at the edge of a reflecting pool feature to create a brooding image.
The piece received the award for ‘Sculpture of the Year 2020’ at the Cotswold Sculpture Park. Ed Elliott is an award-winning sculptor specialising in large scale figurative pieces, who has received national acclaim for his innovative and emotive work in his distinctive style. Revived with a coffee and Danish pastry from the
Artisan’s Pantry and a wander around the Bazaar, I aimed for the new ‘Gallery by the Lakes’ and was immediately confronted by Heather Jansch’s life-size driftwood horse ‘The Young Arabian’ and a bronze driftwood horse’s head ‘Shaker’. Heather, who sadly died last year, was a renowned British sculptor whose lifelong passion was to achieve mastery of the equine form.
Beautiful ‘Mouse in a Pod’
Some of my favourite pieces in the Gallery were by Adam Binder. I especially loved his ‘Mouse in a Pod’. The little mouse could be removed from his pea pod to nestle in one’s hand! Adam is one of Britain’s leading wildlife sculptors, whose signature fluid style of simple lines and flowing forms depicts both movement and emotion that beautifully captures the essence of his subjects.
He has said ‘Nature is my passion and my constant distraction.’
There is an interesting story behind Nadine Collinson’s ‘To The Stars!’; the maquette for the full-size sculpture installed at the Silverlake Holiday Estate in Warmwell. Simon is soon hoping to install one of the editions on the lake at Pallington.
Silverlake was a former RAF base and the piece was created as a homage to the RAF
and the Spitfire, as well as a celebration of the local birdlife. The Spitfire’s acrobatic performance is represented in the looping trails of the birds which create a ring reflecting the RAF badge.
As I made my way into the garden and towards the lakes I found Jane Shaw’s ‘Sherlock, the
Mountain Goat’. She told me “The goat stands proud with attitude and comes alive when the sun brings out the vibrancy of the rust colour, bouncing off from the green surrounds.
We have featured Jane’s work in the past and she has several more sculptures in the exhibition
including ‘Electric Blue Hare’ and ‘Forever Friends’.
“There is a huge number of unspoken words being said between the two lurchers in ‘Forever Friends’.” Jane went on ”and the hare is about to turn the corner at speed, provoking a feeling of energy and joy for anyone who manages to catch his glance.”
Hunting for goats!
It could have been Gill Parker’s ‘Cheetah’ who was hunting for goats as he crept through the sunlit woodland. This beautiful bronze is made by a sculptor who says “I never set out to be an artist” and who had no idea she could make a career out of her art. However, she has a passion for animals and nature and over the years she has become a leader in the field of equine and wildlife sculpture. There are some lovely pieces by her in the exhibition.
Finally, I have to mention Carl Longworth’s massive, imposing ‘Barn Owl III’. This exceptionally talented sculptor says “I wish only to capture the simple essence and movement of the beautiful”. The long, elegant lines and distinctive patination enhance the beauty of his stunning works.
Please remember it is necessary to pre-book your ticket and no dogs or children under the age of fourteen are allowed onsite. As well as the Artisan’s Pantry where picnic goodies can be purchased, there is a lovely café where you can enjoy fresh produce from the gardens. It all makes for a wonderful day out.
by Edwina Baines