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

Mother and Child, Old Masters, Public Art
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‘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.

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Mother and Child, from the back

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‘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.

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

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‘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.

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The shadows create additional images

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‘Section of Mother and Child’

‘Behind every great artist…

Making, Philosophy, Public Art, Relationships

This weekend there was an article in The Guardian about those who work ‘behind’ or ‘for’ well known Artists. “The death of one of David Hockney’s staff this week has thrown light on the assistants who work for famous artists”. I know a few people have probed the question about the fact that my husband now has a fabricator and a painter to do the large metal works. I guess there is also me, what shall we call me, the PA. There is also his driver who drives the van and assists him in transporting the sculptures, and the man who works at our shop when my husband is away. We are already a team. There is already a ‘we’ behind the sculptor, the artist.

I can’t speak for anyone else but for me this is not a problem. There would be no creation if it were not for ‘the artist’. Anthony Gormley’s assistant may ‘regret letting go of his own practice’ but I think he is right when he says ‘maybe I am doing it because I am not brave enough to strike out on my own’. There are few people have the vision, the confidence and ultimately the talent to see a project through from start to finish. They personally may not the best welder, painter, engineer, or craftsman but in today’s world where large-scale creations need to be made with specificity, health and safety considerations then a team of people is needed to put together the final result. Without the artist it would never take off. Artists having been using assistants for years, centuries. I don’t understand why there is ‘a moral outrage- the idea that we’re being duped’ it is as Jeffries writes in his article, ‘ridiculous’.

'chemo 2007'

I have purposefully , of course, put this picture in here. It is made from clay, you can see the technique of strips of clay. All done by my husband’s talented hand. It is to emphasis my point about talent. It isn’t just about talent though it is about ‘ideas’. My husband has often been asked; ‘where do you get your ideas?’, ‘what is you inspiration?’. His head is just full of ideas and the more materials and possibilities that open the wider the imagination becomes. From what I see ‘life’ is his inspiration, anything, everything. I may slip in an idea, an alternative direction every now and again but that is not something that needs crediting. The assistants working for these ‘famous’ artists may sometimes feel that they are ‘airbrushed from public consciousness’ but I don’t think it is due to the fact that ‘the lone genius myth’ helps sales and gives the artwork mystique. Assistants are simply assisting the process, a tool. Like Chapman (Chapman brothers) state, “It’s a job”. So what is it like realising someone else’s vision?

Well, yes perhaps there is the internal battle of knowing you are working on ‘someone’ else’s ideas. The inner dialogue of creativity for self or under direction. At the end of the day though, some of us are creators and some of us are ‘the assistants’ but hey, I think its fantastic, it is a privilege, a blessing. As I have written before, ‘On being the Sculptor’s wife’ even if it is ‘Behind every great artist’, you will find…………….