Two exhibitions run concurrently this summer. The five sculptors, whose work can be found in and around the Fellows Garden, enjoy the kind of freedom that Rosalind Krauss first identified in 1979, in her famous essay Sculpture in the Expanded Field. That arc of bronze which flashes high up in the copper beech, and can be seen from the dining room or the patio, is not the only piece in this exhibition which works with movement and light. All the sculptures on display make a journey round the garden a transformative experience. The artists on show are Mark Evans, Andrew Jones, Eric Marland, Martin Thompson and Chris Wood. A leaflet is available, with a brief statement by each artist.
Inside the main building is a powerful display of prints by Michael Rothenstein (1908-1993). They represent moments from every period of his long and prestigious career, which led to his becoming a Royal Academician. His capacity to see things in an intimate and direct way owed much to his country upbringing. Later Cézanne complicated his looking, showing him ‘the brokenness, the difficulty, that lurching into reality,’ which the making of art involves. He moved to Great Bardfield, in Essex, where he became part of the circle of artists around Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious, even though by temperament he was more radical than most Bardfield artists. During the 1940s his paintings were close in mood to Neo-Romanticism. After a serious illness, lasting some years, his return to health coincided with a deepening of his interest in printmaking. A pivotal moment was his sighting of huge offcuts of elm board standing like a wall around a timber yard. His imagination was fired by the patterns within the woodgrain. He saw immediately how he could incorporate pieces of found wood into his printmaking in order to achieve a grainy surface texture.
He continued to explored various methods of printmaking energetically, boldly looking for visual excitement and what he called ‘an implied violence of structure’. It allowed the cockerels from his childhood days to shriek and crow.
The exhibition of prints by Michael Rothenstein runs from 14 June to 8 August.
The Five Sculptors exhibition runs from 14 June to 4 September.
The Clare Hall art space is open 9 am to 6 pm.