20 October 2014

Crucible2 at Gloucester Cathedral

Crucible2 is the second sculpture exhibition at Gloucester Cathedral curated by Gallery Pangolin of Chalford, Gloucestershire. The first was in 2010 with 76 contemporary sculptures; this time 100 exhibits by 61 sculptors are set in and around the cathedral. Key pieces, in the view of the curators, include works by Kenneth Armitage, David Backhouse, Ralph Brown, Lynn Chadwick (Jubilee IV in the poster,left), Ann Christopher, Antony Gormley and William Tucker. The 20th and 21st century works are often positioned in startling and stimulating contrast to their mostly English Gothic surroundings. For example, Breon O’Casey’s Large Cockerel (circa 2000, below) in the Cloisters with the earliest fan-vaulting in England circa 1350:

The most celebrated monument at Gloucester is the tomb of Edward II circa 1350, seen below left in the background to Steve Hurst’s Gloucester in Berlin. Hurst, born in 1932 and a witness to bombing in World War 2, sees it as concerning “… the bombing of civilians no matter what their country or who launches the bombing aircraft. It is a personal attempt to regain the viewpoint of a child”.

In the background (right) are the laid up colours of the Gloucestershire Regiment. They appear again (below right) behind Paul Wager’s Omnibus which marks the centenary of the Great War 1914-1918. Similar sentiments inform Deborah van der Beek’s Collateral (below right) – eight million horses died in that war - but it was cast around spent munitions from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan which brought the expression “collateral damage” into common use.

The monument near Damien Hirst’s Anatomy of an Angel (Black) (2008, below) is to Sarah Morley, 29, a mother of four who died a few days after “having sustained the pains of Childbirth at Sea” while returning from Bombay in 1784.

Among the pieces I liked were Antony Gormley’s Pose (2012, below) with In Man’s Nature by Jon Buck behind).

Bryony Marshall’s DNA – Helix of Life (below, left) marks the 60th anniversary of the discovery of DNA. Subsequently mitochondrial DNA was identified as having been passed down to us all from a woman in East Africa about 150,000 years ago, known as Mitochondrial Eve, the inspiration for a sculpture of the same name by Sue Freeborough (below right):

The photograph below left of Geoffrey Clarke’s Taunton Deane Crematorium: Test Panel does not do justice to the colours of the glass. To the right is Sarah Lucas’s Realidad (2013), one of her NUDs series shown as bronzes at the Venice Bienniale in 2013.

John Humphreys’ Ipsius Imago a Latere Extensa probably succeeded as the artist wished in puzzling and confusing the viewer:

but perhaps was not as happily placed as the Eduardo Paolozzi plaster Vulcan near a strange moustachioed carving, perhaps a millennium older:

Among the sculptures in the open were Bruce Beasley’s Breakout II (below, left)in the Cloisters and outside Kenneth Armitage’s final work, Reach for the Stars (below, right).

Crucible2 ends on 31 October. There is no admission charge but a helpful map costs £2 and there is a £3 charge for photography. The catalogue at £16 is both good value and helps support the Cathedral.


After posting about Beyond Limits: The Landscape of British Sculpture 1950-2015 held at Chatsworth House from 14 September to 25 October 2015, I thought it would be useful to add an image of Gavin Turk's bronze, Nomad (2002, below - and in other colours):

Another version of Chadwick's Jubilee can be seen there, as well.

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