Sculpture Al Fresco III: Great Fosters Hotel, Surrey

5 June - 26 September 2013

Marcelle Joseph Projects is delighted to present Sculpture al Fresco III, the third annual summer sculpture exhibition in the house and grounds of Great Fosters in Surrey, the former royal hunting lodge of King Henry VII dating back to 1550 AD. This show seeks to find contemporary sculptors with "singular voices" in the international art world, to present their work against the backdrop of this historic house and one of the finest Arts and Crafts gardens in all of Europe. Each of the thirteen artists in the exhibition has been asked to respond to the unique, rich setting and history of this over 450-year old stately home that has been a country house hotel since the 1930's. 


In the third rendition of this annual exhibition, ten of the thirteen artists have created new site-specific works, including new sculptures by Brian Griffiths, whose work can be found in the Tate Collection, as well as Jesse Wine, a compulsive maker of covetable art-objects out of clay. With humour and a touch of Alice in Wonderland fantasy, Griffiths has created a magical outdoor sculpture, taking a found white, rusted cast iron bench and resting identically painted cast resin animals, including a guinea pig and a turtle, on the seat of the bench, safely camouflaged so that nothing can harm them in the wilds of the Great Fosters gardens.  Wine has made a white textured female torso, busty, verging on the grotesque and full of irony when sited opposite one of Great Foster's own garden statuary representing the female form. The landmark sculptures on display range from Alex Chinneck's four metre tall inverted thatched roof perched on top of its own weather vane to street artist Robert Montgomery's poetic, wooden, text work that will be lit on fire on the opening night of the exhibition. Jonathan Trayte, whose culinary-inspired works look good enough to eat although made from glossy painted bronze or concrete, will engage in his own culinary performance on the private view evening, turning the spit of his newest creation, a Tudor-inspired steel roaster that will feed the guests different joints of meat raised on the Estate Farm of Great Fosters.  Inside the house, three luscious bronzes depicting the abstracted female figure made by Richard Hudson sit alongside the more domestic-inclined and fashion-obsessed works of Italian artist Ludovica Gioscia.  A comic but unsettling work of Danish artist Nina Saunders, who was featured in both the Danish and Nordic Pavilions of the Venice Biennale in 2009, will be sited in the hotel's Anne Boleyn Room and reference the hotel's history as a hunting lodge. Amy Stephens will present a bold Perspex and powder-coated stainless steel work in her signature Modernist style underneath a natural archway of intertwined apple tree branches while Annie Morris' column of teetering colourful balls remind the viewer of a travelling summertime fair, a precarious balance of playfulness and tears.  A new work by Rick Kirby, who has been recently commissioned to make four large sculptures on North Audley Street in London, demonstrates how cold industrial materials, such as small pieces of stainless steel welded together, can be manipulated to enormous emotive effect. A collaborative kiln-casted glass work by Richard Jackson and Sally Fawkes, who work both collaboratively and independently, will allow the viewer to gaze in awe of its mastery of material and in awe of the Tudor architecture that can be seen through this sculpture.  


The 2013 edition of Sculpture al Fresco includes twenty-two contemporary sculptures sited throughout the fifty acres of gardens and parkland at Great Fosters as well as sculptures placed throughout the public areas of the Grade One listed house.  Visitors are invited to wander throughout the house and gardens in order to discover these sculptural masterpieces.