Comments on: Brancaster Chronicle No. 4: Mark Skilton Sculptures http://abstractcritical.com/article/brancaster-chronicle-no-4-mark-skilton-sculptures/ Abstract Critical is a not-for profit company aiming to establish a new critical context for all generations of artists involved with ambitious abstract art. Sun, 09 Nov 2014 17:23:33 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Robert Linsley http://abstractcritical.com/article/brancaster-chronicle-no-4-mark-skilton-sculptures/#comment-245651 Mon, 16 Sep 2013 00:09:39 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7392#comment-245651 Any stainless, galvanized, or non-ferrous metals?

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By: Robin Greenwood http://abstractcritical.com/article/brancaster-chronicle-no-4-mark-skilton-sculptures/#comment-245414 Sun, 15 Sep 2013 16:48:52 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7392#comment-245414 I think there is more than one kind of steel – there are a few bits of machinery in there – but also some forged pieces that have been manipulated when hot by hammering, which look and feel very different from stock steel. Generally, there is a greater variety of stuff in this work than you might commonly find in abstract steel sculpture and a greater number and complexity of parts. More than anything though, the diversity is visual.

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By: Robert Linsley http://abstractcritical.com/article/brancaster-chronicle-no-4-mark-skilton-sculptures/#comment-245408 Sun, 15 Sep 2013 16:33:04 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7392#comment-245408 A question. What exactly do you mean by “diverse metalworking?” Is there more than one kind of steel, and more than one kind of welding?

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By: Robin Greenwood http://abstractcritical.com/article/brancaster-chronicle-no-4-mark-skilton-sculptures/#comment-245374 Sun, 15 Sep 2013 15:28:24 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7392#comment-245374 To digress for a moment… In the spring of last year I went to a corporate sponsored bash at the ‘Picasso and Modern British Art’ show at Tate Britain. Pretty awful it was too, with the suits being chaperoned around the show by guides who were giving out glib commentaries for the sake of their entirely ignorant audiences. But by far the worst of the evening was the keynote speech by some Tate apparatchik whose name I never caught, who not without considerable hubris boasted that these days Tate would never be caught napping on the best of new art, as they were in the bad old days when fuddy-duddies ruled the purchasing committees and Picassos of considerable virtue went begging. Oh no, they wouldn’t, not now, they were right on the case these days…

Except they are not, are they? The big art institutions never are. Nor the big commercial galleries. If there was any kind of serious meritocracy in sculpture, or genuinely accountable discourse about its more objective values, Mark Skilton’s recent work would be gracing the turbine hall of Tate Modern or the Duveen Galleries of Tate Britain or any of Larry Gagosian’s caverns right now, and be the subject of intense public debate. What is central to his art rightfully belongs in the public domain. Skilton espouses the highest of ambitions for the discipline of sculpture, whilst harbouring few if any pretentions for his own career and artworld status. Consequently, his sculptures are languishing in a lonely studio in Wiltshire and you couldn’t get a Tate caretaker to give them a sniff. Will these works ever ‘make it’? I expect they will, but not for fifty years or so; not until the extreme affectations of the present artworld elite have run their course and are long forgotten.

The more self-conscious amongst us are entirely jealous of Skilton’s ability to turn out such extraordinarily inventive sculptures without contrivance or conceit. Skilton immerses himself in the construction of three-dimensional content, and has the technical ability to successfully bring together all manner of diverse metalworking. There is a lot needs to be said about this work that I for one cannot yet articulate; serious writers should beat a path to his studio door, because whilst these sculptures might well look rather exciting even in photograph, that does them no justice whatsoever. There are any number of achievements in them that are quite unphotographable, and what’s more, are awaiting some kind of insightful analysis. My feelings about them are rather complex, not entirely uncritical, and not yet definitive; but the term ‘like’ doesn’t to any degree cover them. This work is new and true, the product of real individual vision, different from anything previously done in sculpture, but wholly beneficial to it. That in itself is a massive achievement.

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By: Mark http://abstractcritical.com/article/brancaster-chronicle-no-4-mark-skilton-sculptures/#comment-245180 Sun, 15 Sep 2013 08:02:56 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7392#comment-245180 This is an interesting question which I think is at the heart of abstraction, being tied to improvisation and spontaneity. The first part of your question was, do I remove whole areas and rebuild? I used to in the past, but very rarely nowadays as I have found it important to keep a memory of what there was before when changing something, so part of a phrase may be removed, but not all. This helps me to keep some kind of continuity of decision making, which can also be read by the viewer.
The improvisation in the work is never free improvisation, but only after a lot of consideration, and more to do with changing or developing an existing context. It is to do with changing what is there rather than replacing what is there. This takes place over a long period of time so that although the work has a strong feeling of spontaneity , it is not a quick process, as observed by Anne Smart in the discussion.
I think that the comparison with musical improvisation is a bit misleading as although musicians are committed to the notes that have been played and can improvise in response, they also have the option to repeat the melody, bringing what has gone before back to the present, whereas sculpture and painting exist only in the present.

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By: Robin Greenwood http://abstractcritical.com/article/brancaster-chronicle-no-4-mark-skilton-sculptures/#comment-244880 Sat, 14 Sep 2013 23:03:36 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7392#comment-244880 Truly, I think not. He’s too original.

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By: Ashley West http://abstractcritical.com/article/brancaster-chronicle-no-4-mark-skilton-sculptures/#comment-244401 Sat, 14 Sep 2013 10:38:36 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7392#comment-244401 Mark, This is all very intriguing. Can I ask a question, maybe a naive one, but I’m not a sculptor. When you make these sculptures do you permit yourself to break off pieces, dismantle, re-shape and so on, in a way that is common and physically much easier to do in painting, or do you follow the different discipline of an additive process where you have to deal with, incorporate or resolve each decision, through the next one? I suppose the latter is bit like subsequent phrases in musical improvisation – you can only resolve through moving forward.

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By: Peter Reginato http://abstractcritical.com/article/brancaster-chronicle-no-4-mark-skilton-sculptures/#comment-243879 Fri, 13 Sep 2013 18:04:30 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7392#comment-243879 LIKE

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By: anne smart http://abstractcritical.com/article/brancaster-chronicle-no-4-mark-skilton-sculptures/#comment-243505 Fri, 13 Sep 2013 07:56:03 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7392#comment-243505 Hi Saul
Good to hear from you
You are absolutely right…and on the day in Mark’s studio in front of the sculptures the overwhelming tide of opinion was completely behind the work.
It was special..not a common occurrence
We urge you to go and visit
Most importantly that you put forward your take on it
look forward to hearing from you
Tony Smart

[All the work in these exhibitions can be seen in the artist’s studios.. arrange through Anne Smart ..details available via this site}

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By: Sandra Porter http://abstractcritical.com/article/brancaster-chronicle-no-4-mark-skilton-sculptures/#comment-243222 Thu, 12 Sep 2013 21:11:01 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7392#comment-243222 I have been to see this sculpture and it is indeed a very impressive body of work. I find that it is what Mark says about it that makes the most sense in the ‘chronicle’. He is very interesting about his process and he is totally absorbed in his relationship with his materials and his action, his ‘making’. He comes across as an artist of great knowledge and integrity and constantly questions what he does as he negotiates the development of each sculpture. Although the Brancaster Chronicles may have come across a little awkwardly at times, it has brought artists to our attention that we may not otherwise have come across (in this case 3 miles down the road from me and I had no idea!) so I hope it will continue and grow.

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