The standard narrative of British sculpture locates Anthony Caro’s advanced sculpture course at Saint Martins School of Art as the focal point of a transition from materials-based perceptual making towards the more conceptual approach embodied by Richard Long and Gilbert & George. Mark Wilsher’s recent body of work uncovers a neglected middle generation of sculptors working mostly in welded steel who have disappeared from orthodox art history. Once well-respected names such as Peter Hide, David Evison and Bernard Schottlander are largely forgotten today.
Their large scale abstract works were perfect ornamentation for the new plazas and public spaces generated by the building boom of the 1960s. Once emblematic of advanced art, however, they have since faded into near invisibility because of their very ubiquity. This exhibition is an attempt to understand and empathise with these works by engaging in a cross generational dialogue. Drawing directly on to original photographs and catalogue pages from the 60s and 70s, Wilsher aims to clear a conceptual space in which it is possible to play freely with formal notions of “perceptual” composition.
The drawings in the exhibition will be shown alongside an adjusted text by William Tucker and an original 1966 sculpture by Brian Wall.
Mark Wilsher studied at the University of Westminster and Central Saint Martins, and has written regularly for Art Monthly since 2001. Recent exhibitions include Kunstwerk Bazaar at OUTPOST Norwich (2008), A Staged Dissent RADAR at Loughborough University (2008), Drawing on Sculpture Leeds City Art Gallery (2007), 60th Anniversary Show Gimpel Fils (2006), The History of Sculpture Salford University (2005) and EAST International (2005). He is currently working on a PhD at Norwich University College of the Arts, and a film commission for Picture This.
Unfinished Business is the result of a Henry Moore Institute Research Fellowship. Brian Wall’s sculpture is on loan from the Arts Council Collection and its inclusion is supported by Norwich University College of the Arts.