Brancaster Chronicle No. 27: Robin Greenwood Sculptures

muscly for hegdehogs low res

Muscly for Hedgehogs, 2015, steel

15th August 2015, London.

Those present: John Bunker, Anne Smart, Anthony Smart, John Pollard, Alexandra Harley, Nick Moore, Robin Greenwood, Sarah Greenwood, Hilde Skilton, Mark Skilton, Noela James, Patrick Jones, Ben Wiedel-Kaufmann, Matthew Dennis, Andrew Revell, Bob Aldous, Fred Pollock.


IMG_1107 low res

Muscly for Hedgehogs, 2015, steel


aerial arch of H - LOW RES

untitled, 2015, steel

  1. A couple of things… someone mentions that the space and the steel in abstract sculpture could be one thing. This is what I’m really working on now, to make the steel be the space, rather than divide it up (and leave it ambiguous).

    But the thing that stayed with me most from this session was Mark’s suggestion that there is too much three-dimensionality in the work – the implication being that the sculptures lost, or failed to find, their sculptural clarity. It’s a view I have sympathy with, and these two sculptures do lack some coherence, particularly the untitled one, and it’s down to the content being compromised by a focus on how they stand up in the world, even though that focus was unsuccessful. That’s another thing I’m on at the moment, trying to make the content something else, more abstract. The trouble is that I’m also clear in my own mind that the way forward for me is to increase, rather than pare back, the quotient of three-dimensionality in the work, as far as I can. This will certainly be at the expense of the sculptural “purity” that Mark spoke of in relation to Tony’s “HRS 8” sculpture at his Brancaster talk in July. I believe more in three-dimensionality than I do in sculptural purity, and I believe more in spatiality than I do in physicality, especially if it is metaphorical. It’s really good to have these different positions aired. Every artist should have a Brancaster.


  2. Mark’s point about the sculptures being ‘too spatial’ is interesting. Lifting the work to the height that Robin has leaves a large area/space that may diminish the physical structures – areas may get lost (hence Mark’s wanting some structure to get in the way). But that is when you look at the whole; areas come back into focus and have meaningful quality when you get closer (the ‘bits’).
    How does everything relate to everything else? Interestingly meaningfully, or arbitrary and disconnected? These are also the kinds of dilemma painters will have.
    Robin mentioned near the end that he has lots of fantastic bits, as do his sculptures, but he rightly wants more than a collection of bits.
    Where the good parts stop and start is crucial as Robin mentions: what happens when they stop, what is the connection with the next piece as well as every other piece; some relations will be more important than others.
    I wonder how easy it is to keep the content working and interesting when you are having to manage basic structural issues with the size and material (standing up, staying together, traversing an angle, contacting the floor?). Might be worth making some small works as an experiment.
    ‘What comes first the parts or the whole’ Robin asks near the end. A question painters can also ask. I would aim for a work with many interesting parts, no dead or inactive areas of any note, but constructing a whole that works in itself, as good as any part. That is a good criteria for a work.
    Looking forward to Robin’s work this year and I like his idea of ‘more’ 3D content.


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