Footprints on the Sands of Time Print E-mail
Wednesday, 06 April 2016 09:56
2016 marks the tercentenary of the birth of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, a man so influential that he is regarded as the ‘father’ of landscape architecture. 

In partnership with The Capability Brown Festival, VisitEngland is promoting ‘Year of the English Garden’ as a key theme for 2016, in celebration of England’s many beautiful gardens.

Lancelot Brown was a man who left deep “footprints on the sands of time” (A Psalm of Life by H. W. Longfellow). In the spirit of this year’s festival of Brown's achievements and legacy, and the art and design of gardens, The Garden Gallery will celebrate and promote the role of contemporary sculpture and ceramics as key elements in the creation of beautiful gardens, a tradition reaching back centuries and now an integral part of garden design.
Charlotte Mayer is a sculptor who will undoubtedly leave footprints on the sands of time. Born in Prague in 1929 she came to England from Prague with her mother just before war broke out ten years later. Charlotte has exhibited at The Garden Gallery almost since it opened in 1994. During this time a growing number of visitors to the gallery have become ardent and loyal fans of her work, and look forward each year to enjoying her sculptures and the opportunity to appreciate her skill as an artist, the depth of her imagination and her exceptionally high standards of craftsmanship.

This summer The Garden Gallery will exhibit a new collection of small sculptures by Charlotte Mayer, whose work is as fresh, compelling and vibrant as ever. 

Charlotte Mayer studied at Goldsmith's College and the Royal College of Art in London. Her work is represented in both corporate and institutional collections, and private collections in Europe, Japan and the USA. Public commissions include work for Banque Paribas in London, and in 2001 her large bronze sculpture, Pharus, was installed at Goodwood in Sussex by the Cass Sculpture Foundation.

"I believe that a sculpture should speak for itself. It should need no verbal description. A title may give a hint to the viewer of what was in the sculptor's mind". 
The exhibition will open on Saturday 14 May (Private View 11 - 5) and run until 9 July on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 11 - 5, or by arrangement. Photo: Solar by Charlotte Mayer FRBS (bronze) - Steve Russell courtesy Gallery Pangolin.
The Power of Art Print E-mail
Tuesday, 27 October 2015 14:19
Recently, I visited Ai Weiwei’s exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. The galleries were full, with visitors of all ages and many nationalities engaging with the profound and thought-provoking displays. It was heartening to find the RA confronting the issues raised by Ai Weiwei through his work in a measured, sensitive and deeply thoughtful way. Visitors are encouraged to take photographs and share them through social media.  Ai Weiwei’s work speaks for itself and testifies to the power of art to make us think about other people’s lives, the problems they face when they do not live in a democratic society where freedom of expression is taken for granted, and what we can do to help bring about change for the better. 

Blown Away, a sculpture by Sioban Coppinger FRBS made from bronze leaves for The Garden Gallery’s 2014 exhibition, Echoes in the Memory, had a profound effect on many people. The exhibition was inspired by T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, and thoughts of remembrance and commemoration in the centenary year of the outbreak of WW1. How do we remember a beloved person and keep the flame alive? Sioban Coppinger responded to Eliot’s poignant lines, “… Time present and time past are both perhaps present in time future …”.  The image of the young man she created, “his life fleeting as a gust of leaves”, resonated with the many people who saw the sculpture, bearing witness to the power of art to stir our feelings and our thoughts. 
Blown Away by Sioban Coppinger FRBS 

The Thornflower, a bronze and steel sculpture by Charlotte Mayer FRBS is a quiet call for peace and reconciliation. It was made as an expression of the pain felt and carried by Charlotte for decades following the death of her beloved grandmother in Treblinka. The sculpture commands attention and contemplation and must not be rushed. It speaks of the horrors of the Holocaust, and of the cruelty and atrocities perpetrated since, and which will be committed in the future. Its still compelling presence, the juxtaposition of vicious thorns dominated by gentle petals, is unsettling, yet also reassuring. As the season for Remembrance approaches, The Thornflower offers a focus for our thoughts about those who have died horribly, and calls us to consider how we can help to save others from similar fates. 
The Thornflower by Charlotte Mayer FRBS 
(Photo: Steve Russell courtesy Gallery Pangolin) 

In The Financial Times recently, Antony Gormley wrote an absorbing article about “the stillness of sculpture”.  Gormley said, “I believe in the ability of sculpture as a first-hand experience to move us and to shift our goal-orientated consciousness somewhere deeper and wider … The making of it is an act of hope.”  Ai Weiwei’s exhibition, Sioban Coppinger’s Blown Away and Charlotte Mayer’s The Thornflower are just three examples of how the minds and hands of creative people can guide us towards thinking about time past, time present, time future, and man’s inhumanity to man. 

Like landscape, sculpture can ground us. In The Return of the Native, Thomas Hardy wrote of Egdon Heath in Dorset giving “ballast to the mind adrift on change, and harassed by the irrepressible New”.  Amidst the daily blitz of emails, images, tweets, and social media banalities, the presence in our lives of sculpture can help to focus our attention on what really matters.  As Antony Gormley says, sculpture,  by “ … being a rock in the stream of our lives, invites us to stop, reconsider, to reassess …”.

The Pietrasanta Connection Print E-mail
Tuesday, 02 June 2015 14:16
A group of sculptors from Pietrasanta, Tuscany, are represented in Truth to Material, the latest exhibition at The Garden Gallery. A creative hub for marble carvers, close to the mountains of Carrara where Michelangelo sourced his stone, the historic centre of Pietrasanta is now largely given over to chic shops and galleries. The sound of sculptors at work and the marble dust are to be found at the edge of town.

A notable exception is Studio Sem, which has collaborated with sculptors for over 50 years, from Henry Moore to Peter Randall-Page FRBS and Helaine Blumenfeld OBE, FRBS.  Salvatore Anselmo, who is taking part in Truth to Material, is Helaine’s assistant and trained at Studio Sem. Almuth Tebbenhoff FRBS, also exhibiting in Truth to Material, has worked at Studio Sem since 2006, and relishes the discoveries she makes working “in a very different cultural setting”.

Shelley Robzen MRBS, an American who has lived in Pietrasanta for 40 years, works closely with artisan and stonemason Paolo Galeotti. Close to the historic centre of town, Paolo’s studio was founded by his great grandfather Vincenzo and is, according to Shelley, “like entering another world”.

Truth to Material runs at The Garden Gallery until 18 July on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 11 - 5, or by arrangement. In the spirit of the ethos of the marble studios of Pietrasanta, the exhibition celebrates direct carving, adhering to the doctrine of truth to materials and allowing the innate qualities of the stone, marble or wood to show through simple forms, respecting the block, and often polished to bring out the colour and grain.
Click to view sculptures by Salvatore Anselmo, Almuth Tebbenhoff FRBS and Shelley Robzen MRBS at the gallery -


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Contemporary Sculpture, Ceramics and Furniture for Gardens and Interiors