DRAWING:SCULPTURE Leeds Art Gallery. 17-10-12

A Young Girl Seated By Her Window. Martin Naylor. 1973.
Photograph taken by kind permission of Leeds Art Gallery.

The exhibition DRAWING:SCULPTURE at Leeds art gallery is small but perfectly formed. The idea is to look at the interaction between the two art forms and find resonances and connections. Drawing is not always flat and one dimensional and sculpture is not always macho hunks of hewn rock and metal. The two can feed off each other and interact. The exploration of line and form is the important thing.

There are two rooms full of delicate, elegant and often rather beautiful work which are a pleasure to walk through. There are finely balanced works like Lynn Chadwick’s mobile made in 1959 and surprising work like Anna Barriball’s Untitled II which is made from ink on paper and sits there in the corner looking for all the world like a piece of rock. Alison Wilding’s aquatints from 1994 and Alexander Calder’s Maquette for a mobile from 1938-9 make perfect companions as they share the same interest in shape and form whether flat or floating in space. Alison Channer’s curves fluid from 2011 is full of life and movement as her aluminium poles stretch up into the air leaping in gentle curves above their marble settings. This sense of optimism is shared by Knut Henrik Henriksen’s piece Untitled 2011, simple charcoal dust on a long stretch of wallpaper which reaches up out of it’s roll. There is a suggestion of clouds, of aspiration soaring upwards, and the dust has settled into the bottom of the roll making it a thing of great fragility. One finger touching it would destroy its fragile surface.

My favourite work was Bojan Sarcevic’s Presence at Night from 2010. Three thin tree branches reach out from the wall, almost like dancers moving towards us and holding a pose, questioning, with the tiniest fragments of blonde hair- human?- floating on them. It is a work which makes you ask your own questions in return, ephemeral, delicate and wistful, and it spoke to me of loss. How had that hair got there? A sculpture which is barely there which tells a story. I also loved Martin Naylor’s 1973 piece A Young Girl Seated By Her Window. She is there, abstracted but very much there, and her youth and femininity is clear in the delicate balance, line and accuracy of the work.

I don’t always get modern sculpture, but this was my kind of art- thoughtful, poised and rather beautiful. I could see the connections and I liked being among them. A piece from the little exhibition of Sheila Cluett’s work which I saw earlier this year at the Henry Moore Institute would have fitted in perfectly. I spent a lovely hour. I may well go back.

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2 comments on “DRAWING:SCULPTURE Leeds Art Gallery. 17-10-12

  1. Robert Mason says:

    So very sad that Martin Naylor has recently died. He was an exceptional artist.

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