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: