I've been making equestrian sculpture for over thirty years, exploring new ways of composing the two elements. Those elements being the horse and the rider in their various forms. It's been a fascinating voyage of discovery and has evolved through a natural process of selection, rejecting failed compositions and embracing the more successful ones. Never really knowing where I was going beyond a direction of discovery.
Recently my work has moved forward with personal advances in technique, finding ways to make horses from a modular approach. This involves making a series of moulds for horses bodies, heads, necks and legs, which allow me to make horses in almost any positions. When I'm unable to make one I need, I make a new set of moulds to enable its production. It's a technique I've employed with figures in the past and one which has now become central to the development and production of my sculpture. And not only does it allow me to try out more ideas, it also makes it possible to sell the resulting work at realistic prices.
The issue that I've always had with equestrian sculpture is that there is never a single solution to resolve an idea, as one idea leads seamlessly into another and another add infinitum. Because of this I found the process of sculpture was restricting my oeuvre as there simply wasn't enough time to produce all the sculpture I felt capable of. Often I'd have to make a decision which meant I avoided or missed lines of enquiry. My lifes work in effect was being restricted by the process of sculpture, in which so much time is invested in production. Because with each new sculpture, an armature must be made, followed by a lengthy modelling process, then the cutting up of the sculpture for the moulding. A process which can take weeks, just to produce a relatively small Horse and rider. To pay for my efforts I'd have to edition the work, which is quite repetitive and soul destroying, I don't mind making one or two copies but twenty was just too many.
Further to my modular moulding I've also developed a technique for joining the elements of my horse and rider sculptures together which allows the sculptures to be disassembled and reassembled in different configurations. It also allows for different riders and horses to be combined making the possible combinations quite mind-boggling. And of course this approach is leading to a new set of ideas which can be released by these methods.
These new techniques are allowing me to make the sculptures that I feel need to be made in order to express a broader approach to equestrian art. Sculpture which I believe fills some of the gaps left historically, whilst leading to a greater freedom of expression, and most importantly art which is a reflecting contemporary life.
Importantly to me this approach is fun and exciting and would also work on a much larger scale, making it possible to have large bronze equestrian sculptures which could be rearranged to enliven the environment.
I've not yet photographed these new pieces and their Fixings, but will do in the near future, when I've completed a few of the possible permutations.
Have a great day :)