An Insight Into My Current Practice.

July 7, 2022

Rustic Formalism is a term I’ve coined to describe a current strand of my 3-D practice. I’m an abstract artist who often explores the interface between painting and sculpture.

Found materials, minimal means and an exploration of how elements “converse” with one another are all at play here. The resulting tabletop artworks could also be maquettes (small studies) for much larger pieces.

The sculpture shown in the first image was made after exhibiting with South West Sculptors in Powderham Castle’s magnificent book-lined library. The rhythms set up by these volumes appealed to me.

A fascination with the remains of ancient architecture – their monumentality and reduction of form - can be seen in the following two images.

Mykonos, side 1

Portal, Naxos, side 2

It is the elements from which they’re composed that help to decide their positioning and, ultimately, their meaning. The titles of the works, their summation, comes after contemplation of their character. This particular strand of making is therefore very different from having conceptualized a subject of interest and then planned its execution. Instead, it is led by the materials themselves and my interaction with them. I like the sense of discovery inherent in this form of making.

The pigments applied are an important compositional element and exploit the inherent qualities of the once-living wooden substrate.

The latest development is to note how the free-standing sculptures interact with each other as moveable elements in a larger composite work. This allows them to be altered and played with by the viewer.

Underlying these works are Anthony Caro’s tabletop sculptures, but, more importantly, the Bauhaus building blocks designed by the under-regarded Alma Siedhoff-Buscher. Many an architect and sculptor must have begun their fascination with volume and form through childhood interaction with versions of her elementary volumes, cubes and cylinders.

Looking back, I see that I have been here often with my practice. For instance, during my Artist’s Residency at Cromarty, a very large room was put at my disposal for an exhibition. My response was to exploit the floor space by presenting very large planes as the bases for moveable painted 3-D elements, a bit like using giant chess boards but involving totally different rules of engagement. There, I would be making “A Plaid in Honey and Green” to represent the landscape, or “Black Motes” to celebrate the dolphins in the Firth, two environmental elements in magical proximity.

Playing with form is at the heart of the creative impetus. Whilst my practice and methodology may change and react to each opportunity, it is the reduction of form, a fascination with line and volume, and the spirit of play which remain its key features.

Lynn Baxter

Get our news
Newsletter Sign up home page