For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

Saturday, 26 December 2015

The World Of Elisabeth Frink

Running Man.

To the impressively curated Elisabeth Frink exhibition at Nottingham Lakeside Arts . . . How lucky we are to have her sculptures locally accessible like this — and free parking and free admission too.

What I personally love about Frink's figures is the roughed-up nature of the surfaces. No Brancusi, Moore or Hepworth-style polished smoothness here — all is pitted, cut and worked with chisels, surforms and scrapers applied both to the original plaster model then to the final bronze cast. Her hero was Alberto Giacometti, and you can see his influence. Her work may be more figurative and less modernist than many of her contemporaries, but so what? Those naked men and staring heads, those menacing birds and rolling horses reveal a distinct and uncompromising individual vision — a vision which reveals a profound empathy with animal and mankind, and, at times, attains an almost religious intensity.

I came out of the exhibition moved and exhilarated. Later, when Christmas shopping in Nottingham city centre, everything in the shops — even supposedly arty stuff — seemed cheap, vulgar, commercial, cynical and totally lacking in any depth, subtlety or significance. Thank God for the saving grace, healing power and visionary truth of real art, and thank God for the inspirational Elisabeth Frink.  
    
Walking Madonna. This was the only female figure Frink ever sculpted.

This bronze crucifix is reminiscent of the crucifix Frink made for the altar at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral — I think it's a study for it.

A monumental male head. The stark unsentimentality is typical of Frink's work.

A mock-up of Frink's Dorset studio.

3 comments:

George said...

I like these Frink sculptures, Robert, and really enjoyed your commentary on them. Like you, I think the "roughed-up nature of the surfaces" is a better reflection than refinement of the true character of all creatures, human or otherwise, who journey through the battering process of life.

Susan Scheid said...

Wonderful sculpture, the artist new to me, and I'm glad to become aware of her. Not surprising that the everyday world of shopping, etc. looked particularly cheap after this.

The Solitary Walker said...

I certainly felt pretty roughed up at times this year, George. Here's hoping the world has a smoother 2016 — though somehow I doubt it.

I'm pleased to have introduced this sculptor to you, Susan!