An answer to Moore’s Daughter; ‘all is not lost, there is form in Shendi’

Mother and Child, Old Masters, Public Art
Mother and child ouline 1

‘Mother and Child’ by Sam Shendi 2015

Two people very independently but both very close and beautiful souls sent me the article in The Guardian which Mary Moore (Henry Moore’s Daughter) states that Hirst has sent art back by 100 years. Perhaps they could see that the article would interest me on a number of levels.

Mother and child ouline 5

Mother and Child, from the back

Mother and child outline 3

‘Mother and child’

Exploring the human figure, shape and ‘finding freedom within form’ are the focus of much of both sculptor’s pieces. Observing the human condition, using the human figure, reclining or mothers and child a link of the source of inspiration. In fact some of the earlier work of my husband’s has a very Moore like quality to it. But, dare I say  I believe my husband’s work continues the line of work that Moore started.

It is all about seeing things within that form and from different angles. Looking at the images of this piece every angle in a digital images looks like a different image. Like Mary says about her father’s work, about ‘exploring the invented object’ in front of you.’ In a modern 21st century contemporary setting with the addition of colour and focus on outline in an attempt of abandoning form as a mass, my husband’s work takes it to the next stage in development, thought process or idea. Yes artists like Damien Hirst may be relying on the title and have put the form back in the frame. However, there is always a reaction and response within the art world. Laconic titles such as ‘Mother and Child’ which my husband uses harps back to old masters such as Moore, giving you an indication to the form but allowing you to use your own imagination and interpretation for the rest.

Mother and child outline 6

Mother – in yellow and pink, Child – red and blue

Mother and child ouline 7

‘Mother and Child’

We have become a two-dimensional digital age , a world of flat screens and it is why education is increasingly important about shape and form. Otherwise these skills will be lost. It was so interesting reading what Moore’s Daughter said about her childhood with her father as a sculptor, playing with clay, thinking about thees qualities of light, shape and space. I observe the boys interaction and how they relate to their father, the sculptor in similar ways. Although this winter the studio has been a little out-of-bounds, we are all looking forward to the sunnier warmer days of playing round the studio. In the article which was highlighting the new exhibition of Henry Moore’s work at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Moore said she hoped the show would encourage people “to explore what is in front of them with an open mind and in a fresh way, so that they might re-evaluate or see things that they have never seen, understand things they have never understood. I hope it generates excitement about sculpture.” I think my husband’s work is creating small slow ripple of excitement in the art world and I really hope one day we will be able to get his work into Yorkshire Sculpture park. Seeing Shendi alongside Moore, what a spectacular way of seeing sculpture that would be.

mother and child outline 2

The shadows create additional images

Mother and child 4 outline

‘Section of Mother and Child’

‘Toy’ to a new home

Conceptual, Philosophy

Another blogger /writer, a mother, wrote about how she put all the children’s toys in black bin liner and hid them in the studio. She left just one or two toys out and if the child asked for something particular she resurrected it. She noticed however that her child was playing more imaginatively and productively. I quite regularly re-home toys in an effort to make more space especially in the boys shared room. They are sometimes good at giving things to charity. We recently split a large basket of animals into piles of which we would keep and ones we would give away. This was a little harder as the eldest loves animals, so some that were originally for charity crept back into the basket. I wish I could be as ruthless and bag everything up and start with a blank slate again, introducing just a few toys. Even I find it difficult though to let go, a hoarder by heart. I will pick something up and think ‘ah but they played so nicely with that last month!’ We attach ourselves to things unnecessarily. We place value on them to much.

Yesterday, on returning from the studio finishing off getting ‘The Toy’ ready my husband likened creating a sculpture to being a mother. I understood the analogy but I don’t agree (that’s the mother speaking). However, I totally understood that he felt a little saddened in saying goodbye to ‘The Toy’ which he is taking today to a new home. It was a piece that started on our kitchen table with ‘Blood, sweat and tears’. For this piece is in some ways so more than a sculpture, it is a concept, an idea, a philosophy. One day it would be fantastic to produce it in bronze. It is a piece which often produces a negative reaction. Unlike most of the other works it holds a dark, disturbing image but sometimes it is those harder to swallow ideas that have the strongest message.

This piece is different from the majority of the work but my husband couldn’t find any better way to present his thoughts. With these mediums and this design, it speaks about the 21st century, the society that we live in. The fact the most people work hard and yet don’t go anywhere, like a rocking horse. However long it rocks it stays in the same place. The skeleton is black to show the time that we are in, when fuel has become more important than human life or any living creature, think oil spills and images of birds and sea creatures coated in petrol. The horse-tail, is real horse hair represents the focus on our bodies, going to the gym, looking good, good diet etc. Similar to he technique for a horse race, constantly looked after, good diet, great exercise trained for the ‘race’. Wins only to make the owner very rich. We have become a ‘toy’ to our bosses, to our society and to our media. Played with and manipulated somehow. We believe that this is the normal life the life we are supposed to have. Work 9 till 5, 6 days a week, sleep 8 hours, have three-course meal and wish to live longer..when we could end up being in a nursing home, sitting down on a rocking chair thinking that you lived the life in full. This is an observation of the way our society has become obsessed with material aspects of life, of being in the spotlight not thinking beyond.

toy home

‘The Toy’ by Sam Shendi. 2012

 

Art can be aesthetically pleasing and beautiful but sometimes we need to stop and think and the ‘shock value’ in this piece is intended for that. ‘The Toy’ spent the last six months at Cartwright art Gallery and Museum being viewed by the public and we were given a copy of the fantastic and intriguing comments. Now it moves to a private collection. We have to let go.

(…..yes the’ Frozen’ lyric does spring to mind but immediately wipe it out your mind. I looked up synonyms but nothing else fit )

‘The Toy’

Conceptual, Exhibitions, Galleries, Philosophy, Soul searching

It feels a while since I have written but the past few weeks have been a detoxification of so much that I haven’t had the desire to sit and write so much.  I had even prepared much of this post to quickly slip a post in in anticipation of lack of time to write.

For me, this is one of the best pieces of my husband’s work.  It is more museum worthy than public art, most of the other work is ‘willing to grow’. This could be outside if cast in bronze but I do think this is one for a large indoor space. Yes, it is sinister, disturbing, intriguing… but in today’s modern contemporary art world where almost anything goes, sometimes you have to make a statement that will make the viewer stop. Look. Think.

The journey of this piece started last year and has continued to be one of ‘blood, sweat and tears’ . It was selected for the Hot one hundred so was in exhibition in London when it got pre-selected for the Threadneedle prize, which we were very excited about. So, we had a little bit of logistics and negotiation to get it from A to B.  Having applied for the Threadneedle for the last two years and not been successful we were feeling fairly hopeful that this was a good sign. The piece seemed to fit  the requirements, for example;  “Work that possesses a life force of its own… work that has ‘that something’ which stops the viewer in their tracks.” Tim Shaw. Having got it to the Mall galleries  and putting it amongst the other pre selected work my husband was still pretty optimistic about the next stage. So we waited for the Thursday announcement. On the Wednesday my husband got a call from them and though it could only be good news. It wasn’t. The reason for the early call was because it did need to be collected and the collection days were the same as the rather large cycle event happening in the London on the same day, could he go earlier to collect it. Needless to say, living so far away from London we couldn’t really go any other day and we also needed to drop some other work off at the Cork street gallery (just round the corner). So, my husband and his man with a van headed into London to the Mall galleries  and Cork Street, to deliver work and to collect a rather hefty piece of art, at the same time as some 16,500 cyclist needed the very same road. I printed out maps of the gallery and the cycle routes, the roads which were closed and the roads which would be restricted. I didn’t think it looked possible.However, there was not a lot of choice off they went. I was rather expecting a call to say they hadn’t been able to get it.

Here is what happened; after successfully managing to deliver work at The Cork Street Gallery at 10am (not quite sure how they got there in such good time!) they circled around and realised they just couldn’t get the van to the entrance of the Mall Gallery. Pulling into a lay-by as the driver needed to go to the toilet, on finding a toilet my husband realised that they could see the entrance of the Mall gallery. They decided to walk to it to see how far it was but rather than being able to go straight across the road they were diverted because of the preparations for the crowds supporting the cyclists. On getting to the gallery the driver insisted that as they were there they ‘may as well’ carry the piece back. The images here do not show the glass box which my husband decided to exhibit it in. So, each carrying an edge of the box they walked the mile back to the van. Crowds now gathering, had to shift quickly once they realised two men were carry a glass box and not in fact just pushing their way through. Apparently, they got comments about ‘where the camera was’. I am not sure whether they did that before or after the actual ‘Toy’ which must have then caused another commotion, as though two art thieves were stealing in broad daylight. One way to advertise your work. They did it, they got the piece out but unfortunately not in the shortlisted Threadneedle.

The piece speaks about the 21st century, the society that we live in. It is representing the idea that you work hard and are not going anywhere, like a rocking horse. However long it rocks, it is simply moving back and forth, not moving forward.  The black for the skeleton (it is not a real skeleton) shows that we are in a time when petrol has become more important than human life. As for the horse-tail, (it is real horse hair) this represents the way society keeps pushing you constantly to look after your health, going to the gym, good diet etc etc, and this is a similar technique for a horse race. It seems the horse that has constantly been looked after, good diet, great exercise goes to the race and wins makes the owner very rich. Hence the title, ‘The Toy’ for this concept presents us as having become a toy to our boss, to our society, to our media and to our routine, played with and somehow we believe that this is the normal life that we are supposed to have. People work 9 till 5, six days a week, sleep eight hours, have three-course meal, wish to live longer and will end up being in a nursing home, sitting down on a chair rocking thinking that you lived the life in full. This is an observation of the world through my husband’s art. When words can’t describe what he sees.

Front View

Front View

'The Toy'

‘The Toy’

'The Toy'

‘The Toy’

'The head'

‘The head’

'The Toy in shadow'

‘The Toy in shadow’

'The Toy' side on

‘The Toy’ side on

'The Toy' - in spotlight

‘The Toy’ – in spotlight

'The Toy'

‘The Toy’