Contrasting dark & light in Alison Wilding's sculptures at the Whitworth

Playing with light and dark, delicate and heavy, small and large, Alison Wilding's sculptural installations follow a flow similar to the game 'Paper, Scissors, Rock'. Each one defines itself through medium, texture or shape. Each one is organic. And each one feels unmistakably organic.

In such a huge imposing room its the physical attributes of the sculptures that fill the expanse of space. Wilding incorporates traditional processes with contemporary innovation to produce pieces that explore the differences between materials. Therefore enabling contrasts to be discovered, not only in each work, but when they are placed alongside each other.

The circular stone artwork is placed next to the latex mat with spikes, the concrete lily pond with silk material lilies 'floating' on top of it, the tetris-like wooden building blocks with round grey spheres located inside it to the ghostly William Morris wallpaper with a solitary brass pin attached to it against the wall.

Each element is a signifier to the 'whole picture', there is no one without the other. In Wilding's constructions there are usually two elements - a positive and a negative. This is up to the viewer to interpret.

"Every time I do something that surprises me in the studio, or make a connection I hadn't seen before."

Walking around the artworks I sense a mirroring of nature, whether it's the complex organic structure in 'In A Dark Wood' (2012) like the building blocks of DNA. By inserting cylindrical spheres it messes up the formulation and gives space to breathe within its usually tight formation.

Alternatively 'Disposition' (2012) refers to a scene in the Passion of Christ, one of death and re-birth, as though you could roll the concrete 'boulder' away to reveal the spirit of Christ. It makes for both an intellectual and emotive experience.

Listening to a video where she talks about the materials she uses, Wilding says sometimes using the wrong material is the correct thing to use. It makes it more interesting and tells you something you didn't know before. She learns something new. This is definitely the same feeling I have as I learn more about the narrative in her sculptures. We all learn something new.

On until 12th August

The Whitworth
Oxford Road


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