Comments on: Brancaster Chronicle No. 9: Anthony Smart Sculpture 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 By: Tony Smart Wed, 03 Sep 2014 11:35:50 +0000 The only thing I am struggling with is that in saying so much you do start to give the impression that people know what they are doing in Abstract art today. I hold to the view that it is more of a case of make it up as you go along.
To give an example…what you say about parallax views can, I would have thought, be as big a problem to the Abstract sculptor of today, in terms of confusion, as the opacity of a Henry Moore could lead to finding a totally different sculpture when you get to the “other side”
I agree with you ,Robin, the last thing we need are rules and theories, and I therefore refer this debate back to the Brancaster Chronicles where people have struggled to see and describe what is happening in front of them…and so they should.!
Odds on the new Abstract sculpture is already a lot further on than anybody realises.h

By: Robin Greenwood Wed, 03 Sep 2014 09:17:19 +0000 There is still perhaps a touch of ambiguity about this, particularly in the light of Anne’s comments in the discussion about the works not compelling you to move around them. When walking round a Henry Moore to see ‘what was at the other side’, it was often the case, in my experience, that the ‘other side’ had little real visual relationship with one’s first view, and that, notwithstanding the odd hole here and there, the work relied heavily upon both a figurative subject and a literal objectness for any coherent meaning.

With the new transparency of abstract sculpture it is undoubtedly still necessary for the viewer to experience and enjoy the work from all around and every angle, but the difference is that at all times (more or less) all of the sculpture is available to sight, and every part participates to some degree in every view, and thus has a continuous visible bearing upon the viewers engagement with the work. What’s more, with such open sculpture, parallax of vision between parts at different distances operates extensively to give a greater sense of spatiality, right through the sculpture, even with very minor movements of the viewer.

The greater three-dimensionality, physicality and spatiality in the new sculpture, and the different weighting of those three fundamental characteristics, adds not only to the range of possibilities for individual sculptors, but also differentiates the different participants. As Tony suggests, the range of possibilities are expanding all the time.

To answer John Pollard’s question as to whether all views should create ‘an impression of togetherness’, I would say yes, though I don’t think we have got near to grasping quite what that mean or entails, or the full potential of what might constitute ‘togetherness’ or wholeness in such complex and open abstract sculpture. What are we capable of making? And what are we capable of looking at? That remains open-ended, to be answered by sculptures rather than theories.

[As an aside, it would be interesting to attempt to carry that discussion about spatial intensity, and especially ‘range’, over to the issues of abstract painting.]

By: Tony Smart Tue, 02 Sep 2014 12:09:16 +0000 Years ago a large Henry Moore you would walk around to see what was at the other side.
With the advent of three dimensional Abstract steel sculpture transparency has often been a quality of the work..Only by moving around the steel in that transparent state could one fully “see” the evolving nature of what was happening with the steel and perhaps access the meaning of the whole.
In my experience , fully engaging physically as you put in your point is the way to the rewards and marvels of this new sculpture.
So standing still is not an option.
Furthermore..I would suggest that the gradual move towards greater three dimensionality hence deepening the space of the sculpture only adds more to the intensity and range of the possibilities of spatial feeling.

By: John Pollard Tue, 02 Sep 2014 08:48:52 +0000 It is interesting to revisit this conversation on Anthony’s intriguing sculptures. I’m not an abstract sculptor and this type of complex abstract sculpture is pretty rare so it is not surprising that I had issues with simply forming an opinion of the value of Anthony’s work.

And my gut reaction didn’t help either, as it was one of slight bemusement, a bit like entering a maze. These are very intricate objects.

That said, the sculpture that did grab me, and might still, is No 2 for some of the reasons that participants state in the discussion. I actually liked the way it seemed to coil back on itself in what Emyr called a “springy, exciting configuration”. It also worked form all views and had an interesting juxtaposiotn of detailed cut ‘jigsaw’ shapes complementing the more angular ones.

I have more of a problem in some ways when a complex sculpture throws itself into the distance, which feels like it is for dramatic ‘effect’. This works, it creates a three-dimensional element with reference to an outside world, but perhaps too easily. And perhaps it also distracts you from its overall form.

One of the other issues to come out for me is that of how one should judge sculpture.

• Being a 3D object should it work as successfully from all views?
• Should all views create an impression of togetherness or not?
• How should you carry out your ‘seeing’ of sculpture: by moving ,walking around, closely or at a distance, standing still, all of these? etc.

Of course probably no absolute hard and fast rules in this but these questions do seem relevant.

By: anthony seymour Mon, 11 Aug 2014 11:31:42 +0000 very musical