Brancaster Chronicle No. 52: Alexandra Harley Sculptures

untitled, wood (view 1)

17th September 2017, the artist’s studio, London.

Taking part: Anne Smart, Anthony Smart, John Bunker, John Pollard, Alexandra Harley, Robin Greenwood, Sarah Greenwood, Hilde Skilton, Mark Skilton, Noela James.



untitled, wood (view 2)


untitled, wood, string. (view 1)

untitled, wood, string. (view 2)

untitled, wood, string. (view 3)


untitled, ceramic


untitled, ceramic

  1. I have been trying for a week now to say something about Alex’s sculpture.
    The two wood pieces, particularly the one made with a bandsaw, are in my opinion well worth continued discussion, and on the face of it could have run very profitably with the extensive debate prompted by Tim Scott’s pieces and all that stuff about material and space.
    Then along came Robin’s description of The Fourteen Discs painting by Heron[ over on abcrit ] . I got it immediately. What he was saying about it had taken form as words.
    Why couldn’t I come up with something more about these two wood sculptures?
    These pieces are not like ‘any thing or anything ‘and seem to be resisting any attempt to describe them beyond what was said in the Chronicle itself.
    Are they spatial ? Yes,but I can’t describe that space in text form. Are they specific? Yes, very.
    Is it that she has crossed a line here? What I can say is that these do not ‘ shout out ‘as any kind of image but as I said about Tim’s they do lend themselves to thinking and feeling your way around them, even in a photograph, and certainly in your imagination. I think the description of the Heron painting ,for me, took something away from it.
    I am suggesting there are no words coming into my mind that would unseat these works or to explain them either into the literal world or to flag up just how good my favourite one is, or might be !

    For me there are five individuals being discussed in the Chronicles who make sculpture[ much as I wish it were more inclusive of what is out there]
    This suggestion about Alex strengthens my view as to the ever broadening range of approach in abstract sculpture that I know we are all looking at today .

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Well, I don’t think I could describe Alex’s sculpture in the same manner that I described the Heron, so I think we agree (?) that is a good thing. Perhaps that is a measure of the progress from the high modernism of Heron to something new and more complex and less expected that begins to emerge in the present. Seems the further we go (in abstract art) the less we can say we know. So what does clarity mean? Or wholeness? Can we ease off on those – for a while? Maybe not…

    I too like the “bandsaw” sculpture. I would have liked to look at a few of them.


  3. The two wood sculptures provided plenty of interesting contrasts to discuss. ‘Wood’ (‘Bandsaw’) is a rather beautiful sculpture. It has an interesting tension and slightly springy feel. The material itself is beautiful and I enjoyed the contrasting views, whereby the same object was giving you a different visual felt sense. In contrast ‘Wood, String’ (and staples) was les graceful and has a slightly awkward gnarled look and feel to it. Visually and spatiality perhaps it wasn’t as complete, integrated, balanced, but it had its own strengths, partly down to the contrast in materials, but also its actual form.
    So what way is better? Which is better?
    I don’t know but both are worth pursuing (and/or combining?).


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