June’s dramatic heatwave was certainly a bit of a shock for the UK, but here in the sheltered valley of the Sculpture Garden we seemed to escape the worst of it.
May and June is a spectacular time for the plants - our Gunera Manicata, Petasites and Hogweeds really do take on a life of their own and we can visibly see the growth each day. Enormous leaves reaching high into the sky, dwarfing even our largest sculptures - you’d be forgiven for thinking that you’d been transported to some distant land or mystical paradise.
New sculptures have continued to make their way into the Sculpture Garden over the past two months - we are now proudly exhibiting well over 200 pieces by 51 different artists. We’ve hosted a number of wonderful school groups, art, photography and gardening clubs, and even a proposal!
If you’re looking for a bit of inspiration, pick up a copy of July’s English Garden magazine where you can read a five page interview with Hannah, discussing the best ways to chose and site sculpture in your own garden. It wouldn’t be complete without lots of beautiful photos of pieces both past and present from the collections here!
These are a few recent highlights currently on display…..
We are now officially open for the 2017 season! April has blessed us with incredible weather, allowing all the sculpture to be installed without too many problems. We are on clay here, so we split installation into two groups - the smaller and lighter pieces coming in March, and the larger/heavier pieces coming in Mid April. This means that should March be very wet, we won't be causing too much damage to the Garden itself.
This year's show features 10 new artists, whom have never exhibited with us before. These include some very unusual materials and techniques, which have brought a new feel to the Sculpture Garden. You will be sure to find old favourites throughout the Garden - sculptors who have exhibited and supported us through the years. The Garden itself is already looking beautiful - we have been very spoilt with carpets of wild spring flowers throughout the month.
We are open throughout the spring, summer and autumn until Sunday 29th October. Opening times can be found here.
The final pieces were placed Friday 21st April - so our Garden Guide is *at last* complete. Please do get in touch if you would like to receive a copy.
Autumn is always a rather quite time here at the Sculpture Garden, aside from clearing up the cascades of falling leaves that carpet the garden in a riot of colour.
This year, however, we are proud to be hosting a temporary installation by a group of second year Fine Art students from UCA in Farnham. Our curator Vikki undertook some of her artistic training at the university, so we are thrilled to be able to help with their exciting project.
The installation is the very definition of temporary - the entire piece will be constructed, documented and dismantled in ONE (hopefully sunny) day in December.
‘Kitchen Flux’ is a pop-up exhibition housed in a free standing kitchen - all outdoors, and will be livestreamed online for viewers all across the world to enjoy.
“The installation explores Foucault’s heterotopian ideas of place and “other”. It is a kitchen, built and dismantled on the day. A temporary gallery, hosted in an outdoor garden, watched virtually during the event and later as a short film.”
- Please note that this installation is only viewable ONLINE - visitors on the day will not be permitted.
'THE SHELTERING EARTH' - A solo show by Walter Bailey 23rd July onwards
Renowned wood sculptor Walter Bailey will be exhibiting a large selection of new work in his solo show ‘The Sheltering Earth’ on the Cottage Lawn and throughout the Sculpture Garden
Scale plays an important factor in Bailey’s new work; towering ‘The Sheltering Stack’ reaches over 5 metres up into the sky, matched only in stature by the mature trees and Gunnera Manicata growing along side. Central to the collection is the title piece - ‘The Sheltering Earth’. Created from over 100 individually carved elements, Bailey meticulously arranged the squares to form a dome that entices the viewer to crawl inside. Gazing upwards, viewers experience framed glimpses of the world above - tree tops, clouds and soaring birds are visible from inside the safety of the shelter.
“The Earth is currently - and for some time to come - the only shelter for humanity and for the countless billions of species supported by her. Exile and displacement of populations has been with us from the beginning. As the effects of climate change are increasingly felt, populations will need to move on an ever greater scale; political borders and ideologies will not protect us. Our only protection will be a recognition of our common humanity and a willingness to take care of each other. Currently it is very hard to envisage this.”
“'The Sheltering Earth' explores the fragility of shelter; recognising that the living Earth and our humanity is our only true shelter.” - Walter Bailey.
Over a dozen new pieces by Walter Bailey are now on display at the Sculpture Garden, alongside the Summer Exhibition.
ARTIST IN RESIDENCE 29th June to 3rd July 2016.
We are thrilled to announce that Lee Borthwick will be our artist in residence at the end of June.
Lee will be making new work using wood from out own trees here in the Sculpture Garden - potentially on a larger scale than she's ever done before.
Lee describes her relationship with her materials...
"Each piece of wood I collect has a narrative and a past, each piece of work therefore rendered unique. Through an array of sustainable and local sourcing techniques and, well, having developed a reputation as a bit of a log lady…. I have a wonderful selection of branches and logs in the workshop…"
Lee will be on site from Wednesday 29th June until Sunday 3rd July. We have two smaller pieces by Lee in the gallery reception, so please pop by to have a look at what might be to come....
How is it already approaching the end of May? The time has certainly flown by over the past few weeks. The Summer Exhibition is now fully installed, and the Garden itself is truly flourishing. The bizarre weather over the past few weeks has certainly done wonders for the plantlife - the soil temperature is up, and all the rain means they are rather perky and happy. We, on the other hand, would be perkier if it could stop raining over the weekends!
We could not be prouder of this year's exhibition. We've really gone back to our roots (forgive the pun), and focused on the relationship between nature and art. Curating the exhibition took far longer than usual due to the extra thought and consideration with every single placement, but we truly believe it was worth it. This year you will find sculptures in the most unusual settings; appearing to grow from the undergrowth, hiding under trees, and nestled amongst the architectural planting. We've also had fun with scale this year - from an entire cityscape that could fit on a pizza, to a shooting plant that dwarfs even the most giant of our Giant Hogweed.
It's all here for you to discover........
It's the week after the May Bank Holiday weekend, which can only mean one thing - we are officially open for the summer.
The Gardens are truly springing to life - the warm weather has stirred the Gunnera and Hogweeds from their winter slumber, and everyday we can visibly see their progress. Trees are blossoming, the Bluebells are in their full vivid glory, and everywhere we look new shoots are pushing their way through. The resident feathered-wildlife has also come to life, with families of ducklings and moorhens paddling about happily on the ponds.
Most importantly, our Summer Exhibition is almost fully installed (there will be additional pieces later in the summer, but more on that later) and we could not be more pleased. The 2016 show is our biggest to date, and the addition of a number of indoor pieces in the gallery reception has really made this exhibition come together. Our key aim over the installation period was to make sure that every single placement was carefully considered so that the relationship between art and nature is reinforced at every turn.
So, what are you waiting for? Why not pop along and see if we've achieved our aim.......
This year we are opening from Friday 1st April. That's right, APRIL. No April Fool's joke, we promise!
From Friday 1st April, you will be able to visit the Sculpture Garden on Thursday to Saturday 11am until 6pm, and Sunday (and Bank Holiday Monday) 2pm - 5pm.
Yes, you read that right too - we are opening on THURSDAYS through to Sundays. So there's no excuse not to come!
Our summer exhibition will be installed throughout April, so you might even see your favourite artist placing his/her new work. There will be less work on display at the start of April but the spring flowers are always stunning, and worth a visit in their own right.
So, to summarise: open 1st April* and open Thursdays.
We look forward to seeing you all soon!
*Being April, it will probably rain. Please come prepared, and feel free to check with us first before coming.
......and please remember to wear your wellies......