Van der Beek , D.
Bronze 23 cms high
I visited Gallery Pangolin in Chalford Gloucestershire . The first piece I saw was a
bronze sculpture entitled Tyger. It is an extraordinary piece which appears similar to what I imagine a tiger skull would look like, although the teeth/tusks and markings also hold some sort of mythical symbolism. The outer spaces create ways of seeing inside to hollow areas of shiny gold which reflect light as well as shadow. With reference to time and place the sculpture feels like it is of a time and place in the imagination where anything is possible. The material , bronze , was barely recognizable given the way it had been treated . I was so intrigued by this piece that I contacted the artist by email and asked her what had inspired her . Having noted the title of Tyger with this specific spelling , I had wondered if Blake’s poem Tyger Tyger had been part of the inspiration . Some of the artists email response is quoted below :
“It is William Blake’s ‘Tyger Tyger’ that made me want to do that piece . I
love the apparent simplicity of all his poems of Innocence and Experience,
but the Tyger poem is the most mysterious and strange of them all.- I’d
really love to do it much bigger. Blake was very religious, but I’m not.
However, the Tyger I think is about creativity itself, of the act of
creation and inspiration, and of beauty.
I based it on a real tiger skull. I wanted the smoothness of the animal
skull outside, and the shiny gold inside to be the ‘Tyger, Tyger, burning
bright’ of the poem. Until Pangolin polished the bronze for me I didn’t know
if my idea was going to work. I hoped that if I made long cuts in the skull
shape, light would fall inside into the flames and stripes of both poem and
real tiger, and that as you move round, these would move and flow and change
Death by sofa
Lorraine Robbins .
15 cm high. Bronze. 2015
My first reaction to the sculpture was to almost overlook it . It is small , entirely white and was positioned against a white wall in an inconspicuous place which was not immediately accessible to view. It is not the sort of work that I would usually be attracted to but I found myself returning to it and observing the positioning as part of the message of the work. The piece is representational and shows a small polar bear on a ledge of ice. To overlook it is in part perhaps a statement on global warming and that the plight of polar bears has been overlooked.. I felt the size to be significant in that the Arctic is distant and therefore minimized in my mind.
The form of the bear itself was not interesting to me as it looked like a child’s toy bear, but the thoughts it provoked were. The medium of bronze was interesting in its durability given the fragility of the topic.
Lorraine Robbins has exhibited widely, nationally and internationally and has won drawing awards including the Jerwood drawing open. She combines her art with teaching.
I have been pondering the placing of exhibits and the part this plays in the message of the piece. Tyger was on a plinth with space around it so that visitors could see it from different angles and observe the patterns of light, whereas Death by sofa was given a very different place which seems to reflect its place in a society which has only recently taken action against global warming and environmental change.
I had not considered the role of place relating to installation art . Reading this article gave me a new context of how to understand installation art. Interesting to think of the way a specific artist may exhibit his work as part of the entire experience . I understand one of the objectives of installation art might be to immerse the viewer in a more complete sensory experience. This could be pleasant, unpleasant or challenging. Site specific installation such as the sound installation, Vatnajoksull can be experienced via a gallery as well as in situ. In the same way, some installation art can be experienced via video film or still photographs.