Rudimentary, my dear…

collections, Old Masters, Philosophy

…Watson, is what I want to say everytime we mention the ‘Rudimentary collection’ but before I go into a break down of each piece. I thought I would post this video for you to get the artist’s insight into this collection. This collection is more abstract than other so it is interesting to hear the thought process behind the work.

Video Clip below:

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Shendi sculptures are ‘essentialism’

Making, Old Masters

When writing blurbs or bits and pieces for galleries, agents and articles we often describe my husband’s work as minimal, referencing the sixties minimalistic movement and stripping the human form down to the bare essentials.

In my own recent quest for minimising the home, trying to contain our family in a small northern English terrace house, I discovered Greg McKeown’s book “Essentialism, The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.” Just a few pages in it dawned on me that, the way of the essentialist, is very much the way of the sculptor. ‘The relentless pursuit of less but better. It doesn’t mean occasionally giving a nod to the principle. It means pursuing it in a disciplined way”.

Originating from Aristotle, the term ‘essentialism’ is the idea that everything has an essential nature to it. Plato, too was one of the first essentialists, believing in the concept of ideal forms.

Our youngest has asked a few times, “Why don’t you do arms Baba”. The sculptor answers making the point that they aren’t necessary. I have heard him speak about how Egyptian sculpture lasted longer than Roman sculpture because there were no weak points. An almost ideal form that could remain. Roman sculpture today stands without arms because they have been lost to the elements where as the ancient Egyptians made no gaps between arm and torso. The Egyptians knew what was essential but also had a style that would remain in tact. It is in the taking away that more is added, and in this case time.

Not only does my husband sculpt in an essentialist way I feel he lives his life to that aim. He lives by design (pardon the pun)  perhaps it goes hand in hand, he is so ruthless in his pursuit of sculpting and because he is not yet a full-time artist his time has to be used to purposefully. He has a, “disciplined, systematic approach for determining where his highest point of contribution lies, and then his execution of these things appear to be almost effortless”. That effortlessness makes it easy to think that it is un-challenging or un-demanding and consequently, I become forgetful of how hard he works.

In this journey from realism to the minimal my husband’s work takes away all that is not essential to the story he is telling. “An Essentialist thinks almost everything is non-essential”. For the pieces are like three-dimensional stories in a very contemporary, minimal form. Play is an important part of our development because it doesn’t just help us to explore what is essential. It is essential in and of itself. My husband’s work is playful in the use of colour but also the shapes and themes which are provoked.

‘The essential life is living a life that really matters, a life lived without regret. If you have correctly identified what really matters, if you invest your tie and energy in it then it is difficult to regret the choice you make. You become proud of the life you have chosen to live.”

In short, I think Sam Shendi is up there as one living an essential life and consequently his master pieces mould into an art movement of Essentialism. Then of course I should say, it is essential that they are seen, that the work is viewed and appreciated by the many. This is what the sculptor is working so hard to achieve.

Celebrating this time of year with sculpture

Exhibitions, Galleries, Mother and Child, Old Masters

Relief. I didn’t make use of the fact it is also a sculptural term. It doesn’t stop though does it. Relief comes and then it’s back to it, there is no rest. The sculptor was back up again in the early hours to load the van and make the journey down to London. This time for an exhibition at The Royal College of Art. ‘Royal’ somehow makes everything sound more prestigious. We shall find out.

lullaby

‘The Seed’ by Sam Shendi

He is exhibiting new work which is an exciting theme and style. It harps back to work he made after university. More curvaceous, softer and less abstracted. It echos work of the 1900’s figurative sculpture but with a contemporary modern coating of colour. The germination of many ideas.

The pieces are to be exhibited alongside a huge range of artists in a large group show entitled ‘Flux’ which he has been involved with before. With two previews and various meetings alongside it’s another few days stay away and so I’m back in charge of the business and this time in-amongst nativity and carol concerts, festive songs and lullabies. Someone recently made a comment that these pieces reminded them of Mary (Mariam), mother of Jesus. There is no religious connotations to these pieces but it is interesting what it brings out in people.

seed

‘Lullaby’ by Sam Shendi

At a time when the focus of the Christmas story gets lost in the chaos of consumerism, commercials and Claus I am trying to speak with the boys about the similarities and differences between faiths. What this time of year is really about and why. The other evening whilst having bedtime stories we were talking about the importance of Mariam, a righteous and honourable woman and an example and sign for all people. My eldest always surprising me, pointed out that we are all one family really, we are all brothers and sisters in humanity. Those were his words. How those innocent, heartwarming and important child-uttered wisdom’s get buried as we grow up and start looking at differences and divisions.

breast

‘Bedtime Stories’ by Sam Shendi

alert

‘Alert’ by Sam Shendi

The sculptors work encourages these ideas of sameness and humanity. We all have a body in which we house our emotions and we share those same responses of anger, doubt, envy, fear, sadness, joy, love, hope. So at this time of year; for those enjoying the Winter Solstice and the ancient pagan Roman midwinter festivals, or celebrating festivals of light, or just because of the tradition of having up a stocking or those focusing on the birth of Jesus or the birth of a newborn in the family, finding out your pregnant, or for those mourning a loss, finding this time of year a challenge as we move through this season into a new Gregorian year let us remember the focus of family and unity and join together and transition in the emotions of hope and peace.

flux

Portrait of an artist

Exhibitions, Galleries, Old Masters

 

Portrait

Oil on Canvas by 250 X 140 cm by Luca Indraccolo

 

This is not another art swap (unfortunately..more of that coming soon) but I had to share this. We just got an email through with an image of a painting produced by the most incredibly talented Luca Indraccolo. It is the one which my husband stood for last summer. It is a massive painting, oil on canvas 250 X 140 cm.

For me, this initial view looks mysterious and dark, Italian Mafia meet Turner. It also reminds me when I first met my husband and he said something along the lines of, follow and see how deep the rabbit hole goes. Perhaps this is what he is saying here, though there is more of a sense of foreboding in the painting which wasn’t true in our life. The contrast between the dark depths of the pit below his feet and the white misty landscape behind is stunning. The likeness to my husband is remarkable it looks like a photograph of him. I want to take a closer look so I really hope I can see it in the flesh on day.

If you would like to, it will be on display at ‘Le Dame’ gallery in London from July 9th to the 30th.

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’

Sculpture is a painting…

Colour, Egyptian, History, Making, Old Masters, Public Art, Steel

‘Night Watch’

‘The thinker’

‘Discus’

Frank Stella wisely noted that ‘a sculpture is just a painting cut out and stood up somewhere’, this statement can be justly applied to Sam Shendi’s work. His work explores the relationship between vertical and horizontal and the interplay of gravity whilst simultaneously exploring the human figure.

The Egyptian influences are clearly visible in his work, hidden symbolism of obelisks, sun-balls or eggs, also with the illumination in bright colours. The physicality of the material, the cut out steel is reduced to the essential parts, nothing is extraneous, and all is elemental. This refined approach to sculpture means Shendi has the artistic ability, the technical know-how to capture the very nature of things.

 Based on architectural forms and modernist morphology he brings in a twist of fun and playfulness. The final finished works take a fine line between representation and abstraction. Sam minimizes the human figure through structure, strong verticals set against horizontals. This pure joy of colour, this delight in simple and clean lines means that the work is infused with a gentle humour and is designed to give pleasure, whilst being founded upon serious geometric principles.

Sam is a sculptor who has a sense of history, schooled at the prestigious Helwen University of Fine Arts in Cairo and has been commissioned to produce large-scale pieces for public spaces. His work is rich in references and constructed with the assured precision of a consummate craftsman.

Ben Austin

Balance

Colour, Old Masters, Philosophy, Soul searching, Steel

‘The gymnast'

Life is about balance. I went away this weekend for the first time in a long time , just me, no boys. I went on an amazing hen weekend. Wake boarding! Not only did the break realign my balance, the active outdoor adventure and the stimulating conversation with other woman was a great re energiser.

Speaking with the other ‘girls’ made me realise how woman are always trying to balance all the different aspects of their lives. As my friend, bride to be was one of my rowing friends most of the woman there had some connection with rowing at Durham, Oxford and GB Rowing Olympiads. Some trying to still fit in rowing whilst others had parted ways and started new adventures. With the Olympics approaching and all the buzz around it, the athletes  will be  trying to find a balance to remain composed before they start the ‘big race’. Some use the race as an analogy for life, but in that sense  we need to think about where we are heading. We need to stop and take stock, reflect in the moment and re address our balance.

Windows of antiquity

Colour, Connections, Egyptian, Galleries, Making, Mother and Child, Old Masters, Soul searching

'Pregnant, in the window at Rupert Cavendish, London'

It’s interesting how shop windows are designed to pull people in where as in our homes we put up blinds and curtains to stop people looking in. Understandably of course, we don’t want to attract people to peering into our windows. It makes me reflect on the beautiful Japanese homes I visited where the garden would be in the centre of the house and the walls would slide to let you open out into it. I don’t recall windows. Almost like little boxes with moving window walls.

I have often thought about the expression ”our eyes are windows to the soul”.  For a painter the eyes are symbolic of romance, passion, mystic. For a sculptor the eye is always dead, whatever the scale of the sculptor ‘s ability there is no way of creating it. Perhaps that is proof enough that our soul is visible through the eye.

To contrast from my last two blog entries, not so locally, in Kings Road London ‘Pregnant’ the piece by my husband has been positioned cleverly in the centre mirroring the geometric shapes in the painting behind (Andrew Burgess). Quite an impressive window display. Ralph Waldo Emerson so eloquently put that,” the eyes indicate the antiquity of the soul” this is so much more expressive. There is something, rich and fine about antique objects and to indicate the depth of soul in such away gives more meaning than simply a window.

The piece stands out within this antique setting as the modern colours are bold and vibrant against the classical soft browns and blues. With the universal rules of mathematical proportion but the quirky playful touch reminding us it is modern day.However, it is not lost here. Like some futuristic object that has found a home amongst fellow works of art, its antiquity resonates. A real masterpiece in the window. It stamps Egyptian style, drawing on the antiquities of the past.

Vertical and Horizontal

Colour, Connections, Old Masters, Public Art, Steel

Staying with the local theme, when we were at the Mill in Haworth we met someone who runs one of the local magazines. In the small world that it is, we realised that we knew her through ‘networking’ with the business and my prior work. Anyway, she liked one of the pieces and thought it would be topical for this months edition. So it made the front cover! The photograph makes it very much like a 3D Mondrian. It is part of the cubist collection (see if you can spot the others in earlier blogs!) The harmony between vertical and horizontal is an important feature in my husbands work. The straight lines and angles in this piece displays it clearly. In other pieces it is not so apparent but it occurs through his practice even the curvy pieces. With the olympics approaching and here in the UK this year it was a natural subject to explore. We will see people push their physical limits in strength, stamina, determination, flexibility and endurance. Perhaps whilst the rest of us watch restfully from home in a more horizontal position!

(For those of you who are local you may get one of these through the door or you can pick it up from local shops and business. If not then www.airevalleymag.co.uk)

Words and Pictures

Exhibitions, Galleries, Mother and Child, Old Masters, Public Art, Steel, Uncategorized

‘Little man’ at BIB&SOLA

Little Man at BIB & SOLA

‘Mother & Child’ at Rupert Cavandish Antiques, Fundraising Exhibition and auction for the Young Master’s Prize

‘Pregnant’ at Rupert Cavandish Antiques, Fundraising Exhibition and auction for the Young Master’s Prize

I am guessing at these events it’s a lot about words spoken and pictures taken and then what follows. Words are not flowing from me right now but thought I would put up a few pictures which review last weeks events. There are also a few links which will take you to the photos taken at the events – BIB&SOLA event. and information about Young Masters.

For those of you who were wondering what my husband did wear in the end (see the B&S link)…I will leave it for you to spot, no hat ..but it was hot, well that is the excuse anyway 😉