The RA Gallery offers a selection of work exhibited at the Robert Adam Orangery or within the Capability Brown Garden at Devon Sculpture Park,
Terry Howe - Looking for Clues
I work with the spent, washed up and the discarded. The shoreline, car boot sales, skips and hedgerows are the starting points for making. From there I take off on imaginary space travel and I keep finding spheres. No matter how you zoom in or out, spheres are there (atomic, sub atomic, planets, galaxies). You may well think what a load of old balls but have a look yourself!
I find a creative charge in giving the everyday a chance of a new life. In this exhibition you will see multiples of pan scourers, freezer bags, oil cans, funnels, table tennis, snooker, and bowling balls.
Hedgerows produce imaginary archeology, prolific multiples of spikes and barbs (amazing systems of protection) I am mainly working with acorn cups, rose hip barbs, and blackthorns/hawthorns.
In the 1960’s (my childhood years) I was free to be out all day to play, explore and invent (tips, fires, dams, dens, scavenging, collecting, penknife whittling). All of this fired my imagination and it still does.
Philip Letts - Man v Nature
A peripatetic traveller Philip Letts' early artwork captured through in camera manipulation a visual experience of the tightly populated, thriving metropolises where he lived and worked. Man v. Nature departs from that lived experience and media. For the last several years, Letts has been rooted in the expansive views and beautiful nature of a corner of bucolic England.
As is his habit he dove head long into his new surroundings, finding a striving, heaving natural force alongside the super domesticated English countryside. Embracing what is now known as the practice of rewilding, he encouraged the natural environments surrounding him to break free from their constraints and similairly his work did the same.
No longer satisfied with simply recording with photographs and paint place, emotion and human activity, he rewilded 100 acres of England. His materials came from land around him. His work looks to depicts nature's strength of purpose and a free natural environment that struggles to exist outside of England's centuries of traditional farm practice, and domestication of the countryside itself.
Roots, fallen trees, bones, insects, bark, forested logs, wind, sun, rain are the materials used in his art. But more they become actors with the artist in the making of the art itself. His work juxtaposes man's overpowering need to control and domesticate nature with natures's inexorable steady drive to stay free.
Chris Speyer - Earth Works
Each piece in Earth Work began with a found, naturally formed object. The works in the Shed Gallery fall into two groups, those that combine ceramic with found wood, and those whose forms were inspired by examining the regenerative parts of plants, reflecting the regenerative nature of the rewilding movement. In this latter group is “Nutshell”, which grew from a beechnut, “Teasel” from that plant’s seedpod, and “Husk” from the outer skin of a bulb.
Those in the former group are “The Natural Curiosity of Branches”, “Swing Time”, “Theriomorph”, “Limb” and “Trunk”. With these pieces I used extruded, thrown and modelled ceramic additions to extend forms that Nature had sculpted. A palette of glazes, based on the colours and textures of lichens and fungi, provided surfaces that mirror the symbiotic relationships that exist between trees, fungi and alga and that underpin healthy ecosystems.
The non-ambulatory nature of trees inclines us to think of them as static and non-sentient. In both “The Natural Curiosity of Branches” and “Swing Time” I endeavour to portray the constant reaching, exploring, slow-motion arboreal dance of forests and copses. In “Theriomorph” we have the wild, unrelenting, animating, vital force that drives all life on Earth.