Sculpture's brightest emerging artists envelop the gardens at Broomhill

Ana Catarina Pereira

Sculpture surrounds us daily, on the streets to parks and city centres. They come in all shapes and sizes. Either blending in with their environments or standing out with its sheer uniqueness. So if sculpture is your thing then surely you'd have heard of Broomhill Sculpture Gardens when navigating the scenic North Devon. So close to Barnstaple, sneeze and you've driven past it. Imagine a very large secret garden filled with different materials, shapes and sizes of sculpture hidden in every nook and cranny.

Walking around the tiered garden with its own river and meadows it can be hard to believe that such an expanse of sculpture exists. From steel, ceramic, bronze, perspex, plastic, glass, stone and a host of unusual materials each one specially crafted into people, characters, extensions of nature, animals to the abstract and contemporary.

In addition to the main garden, the founders also set-up the Broomhill National Sculpture Prize, and with a £15,000 prize to boot, it garnered a formidable shortlist of new and emerging UK based artists. Not only are there this year's sculptures to see but also every winner of the Sculpture Prize since its inception in 2009.

High or low the exciting and unusual use of ideas and concepts were clear to see in this competition entries. Take the fun sculpture 'Welcome' by Katie Hayward, plastic arms that rise and fall through their wind-inflated pink features. Sitting high above the ground they quite literally will welcome you with open arms.

'Blueday' from Joel Reilly is centred prominently in the middle of the meadow, taking inspiration from urban architecture and revelling in the act of man's attempts to create shelter. Empty inside, its partial blue walls semi-cover the space offering only minimal cover, yet interestingly would still be
considered as a modern form of shelter.

As a result of considering notions of human memory, actions and responses, sculptor Sandra James's white smooth abstract work 'The Passing of Time' is a collective nod to the accumulation of human interaction. Her pieces reflect a harmony and rhythm through its symbolic values. Whilst the tall, geometric sculpture 'Aelian Harp' by Jenny Ridgeway looks substantially different but also emphasises a resonance with time, memory and stillness. Her kinetic piece is motivated by the sound of nature from the gentle sway of rhythmic motion.

Previously nominated for the Aesthetic Art Prize, the stubborn-looking industrial 'Now outside the doors of strange houses' from sculptor Ana Catarina Pereira fills you with a sense of resilience and determination. In the way each separate metal element stands together to form specific angles or how the pieces have been fused in perfect connection to each other. There is a wonderful use of metalwork and in realising her consideration of carbon molecules, oxygen and iron crystals, such a hard, durable material can still be flexible, both in nature - and manner.

I'll leave you with a quote...

"Sculpture exists in and defines not just physical space, but psychic space, conceptual space, political space. And not just space, but our presence in it, our relationship to it, our movement through it, our responsibility for it."

Postmasters exhibition, New York 'What is Sculpture' 
(Huffington Post 2014)

Michael Branthwaite

Tian Zhu

James Trundle

Seth Orion Schwaiger

Katie Surridge

Alex Glass

Katie Hayward

Joel Reilly 

Sandra James (left)

Benedict Hughes

Graham Guy-Robinson - my personal fave 'Permanently Temporary 2012'

Jake Rusby (above)

Rest of the gardens...

Details on this year's prize winer should be released soon in early November...

Broomhill Sculpture Garden
Muddiford, Barnstaple
North Devon 
EX31 4EX

Please take note that your art may flourish from reading this blog :)


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