(June 2013) Works of 19 sculptors, among them Bridget McCrum and Peter Randall-Page, will be exhibited in the Crypt Gallery at St Pancras Church in London until June, 26. The works are showcased at the onform exhibition which usually takes place every two years at Asthall Manor in Oxfordshire and now for the first time has come to London.
Creating both figurative and abstract works, the collection of artists carve in a rich variety of stone sourced from all over the world, including dark grey Kilkenny limestone, honey coloured calcite, Italian blue alabaster, red sandstone and grey-white Carrara marble. The sculpture selected for onform london ranges in size from desk top pieces to much larger works for outdoor display.
The artists are: Peter Brooke-Ball, Katusha Bull, Aly Brown, Frederic Chevarin, Luke Dickinson, Simon Hitchens, Jonathan Loxley, Bridget McCrum, William Peers, Peter Randall-Page, Jordi Raga Frances, Julian Rena, Rachel Schwalm, Sarah Smith, Guy Stevens, Anthony Turner, Lucy Unwin, Paul Vanstone, Dominic Welch.
A sight for commuters’ sore eyes on Marylebone Road — a crop of sculptures has arrived at St Pancras Church crypt and gardens. They are part of the Onform biennale show, usually held in the grounds of Asthall Manor in Oxfordshire, once the home of the Mitford sisters, but this year also taking a month’s sojourn in London.
Visitors are encouraged to feel the works by sculptors including Simon Hitchens and Lucy Unwin. The exhibition’s curator Anna Greenacre noted shouts of approval from passers-by as the pieces were installed, while Onform’s founder Rosie Pearson applauds stone for both its aesthetic and handy functions.
“Stone is made to be touched,” she says. “Time is embedded in stone, it has its own smell and, best of all, it virtually cannot be stolen because no one could possibly carry it off.”
Stone sculpture is weird. The words conjure up old English churches and images of an ice sculpture festival without the fun. In reality, one quick look at onform will tell you something different. It’s Britain’s most acclaimed stone sculpture exhibition for a reason and it’s also the only one of its kind. After a series that ran in Oxfordshire, housed in a fittingly smart manor, the exhibition comes to the capital for the first time. Find 129 sculptors on show, with new and established talent. The names of the likes of Bridget McCrum and Peter Randall-Page will mean more to some Londoners than others, but the work on show is varied, and startlingly impressive. Held in the fitting Crypt Gallery (quickly becoming one of our favourite exhibition spaces), it’s raw nature, in two ways. Find out how interesting the earth can be when man plays with it.
Asthall Manor’s seductive onform sculpture show brings stone to London’s Crypt Gallery
Exhibition preview: onform, The Crypt Gallery, London, until June 26 2013
Described as the country’s most seductive sculpture display, the sixth onform, last year, was the most successful edition yet of a group show held at Asthall Manor, in the Cotswolds, ever since owner Rosie Pearson commissioned two gatepost finials from artist Anthony Turner in 2002.
Turner is one of 19 artists taking part, having originally inspired Pearson to fill the garden with similarly striking, curvy stoneworks. Overseen by co-curator Anna Greenacre, the switch to London aims to create a deliberately urban contrast to its usual home, although it remains dedicated to tactile, engaging pieces which respond playfully to the atmospheric crypt and one another.
That philosophy makes for a diverse line-up. Peter Randall-Page, whose influence resulted in a major show at Yorkshire Sculpture Park three years ago, is among Turner’s fellow artists, as is Bridget McCrum, who takes inspiration from the hills of Devon but, in her largest work to date, made a conversely fearsome stainless steel representation of the Merlin bird and the Spitfire, commissioned by Rolls-Royce.
Open 11am-6pm (4pm Saturday and Sunday, closed Monday). Admission free. Follow @AsthallManor on Twitter.
Sculptures will share secrets with poetry
THE UK’s largest exhibition of sculpture in stone, On Form, is set within the gardens and ballroom of Asthall Manor from June 17 to July 15.
As part of a lively and varied programme of events, On Form 2012 will also feature a drop-in performance, Scary Little Girls: The Speaking Stones on June 23.
on form 2012 - Press Release
The full press release for 2012 is available here. Download the Microsoft Word Document
Jackie Wullschlager in The Financial Times
on form has since 2002 presented a show whose focus and dedication is in a different class from the potpourri of conceptual installations elsewhere.
on form is a serious, committed, intellectually adventurous biennial exhibition of stone sculpture, the largest of its kind in the UK. In this Jacobean house with acres of gardens and yew walks, orchards and lakes, Pearson showcases two dozen of the most accomplished artists in this difficult but compelling medium – by which heavy inert rock is transformed into something dynamic, and our connection with landscape and nature re-affirmed.
Some are well-known. Emily Young’s wonderfully luminous pierced discs and pared-down, silent figures; Peter Randall-Page’s delicate balance between geometry and the random vagaries of stone markings; Bridget McCrum’s abstracted animals. Among younger artists, Paul Vanstone’s huge expressive heads, Luke Dickinson’s abstractions on the theme of movement and growth; the raw surface textures and solemn serenity in the work of Simon Hitchens….are notable, though at Asthall there are always new discoveries. “Do touch” the signs read, inviting tactile experience of the shapes, textures and temperatures of exotically named stones – Swaledale fossil, Plumpton red, Ancaster weatherbed, Portuguese Estramoze – as well as the material’s timeless, time-arresting quality.
For the original article, click here
The Oxford Times
The moment you enter the main gates of Asthall Manor, near Burford, passing the two gatepost finials created by sculptor Anthony Turner, you will be aware that you are entering an enchanting world where old and new not only complement each other, but provide a never-to-be-forgotten magical mix.http://www.oxfordtimes.co.uk/leisure/8212421.On_Form_2010__Asthall_Manor__near_Burford/
Asthall Manor in the Windrush Valley, once home to the Mitfords, now forms the backdrop to a sculpture festival [which] has done more to promote the wonders of sculpting in stone than any commercial art dealer.
BBC Oxford featured our first day of installation on the evening news.http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/oxford/hi/people_and_places/arts_and_culture/newsid_8705000/8705773.stm
This family-friendly show encourages visitors to touch the sculptures and explore the shape and texture of the pieces.
The Oxford Times
It has a timeless air, yet within this tranquil and quintessentially English space sits a collection of stone sculptures that simply beg to be touched and admired. …Bridget McCrum’s superb Mythical Horses, carved out of Kilkenny limestone, appear to be struggling to rise from the earth in which they are buried.http://www.theoxfordtimes.net/search/display.var.2336989.0.nature_and_stone.php
The Sunday Times
Rosie found herself taking on “a sort of mission” to convert people to the beauty of contemporary sculpture in stone…At first, the main attraction for visitors was to look at the house….[but] the sculptures are increasingly becoming the main attraction. This year…among the exhibits will be an iconic pierced disc of chalcedony by Emily Young, Bridget McCrum’s elegant abstracted animal forms and Paul Vanstone’s sophisticated stone renditions of Greek-inspired drapery.http://property.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/property/gardens/article4074358.ece
Stone sculptures that seem to slow time down.
Summer always brings with it the pleasure of looking at sculpture out of doors and there can be few more idyllic settings for it than Asthall Manor in the Windrush Valley, arguably the most beautiful river landscape in the Cotswolds. on form has established an enviable reputation among such shows for its range and adventurousness in the 4 years of its existence, and this year’s version is no exception, with Anthony Turner, Nicolas Moreton and Mat Chivers particularly catching the eye.
Garden Design Journal
A unique showcase for stone sculpture in Asthall Manor’s fabulous gardens.
on form, an outdoor biennial of some 40 pieces in the garden, is now in its eighth year and steadily gaining gravitas. The stony theme is strictly adhered to, which weeds out less committed sculptors; you have to be dedicated to stand in a freezing shed with hammer and chisel chipping away at a piece of marble. Many visitors come to see the Mitfords’ old home, but are converted to this genre and find themselves caressing curves of Purbeck stone or Plumpton red.
The National Trust Magazine
What better way to discover fresh works of art than on a stroll through the gardens of Asthall Manor? The house, once the home of the Mitford girls, is the perfect backdrop for large-scale forms.
Historic Gardens of Oxfordshire
Anyone with any doubts about modern abstract sculpture should visit on form in 2008 to experience the amazing mutual flattery of stone and flowers.
” art which connects people to their surroundings, awakens their emotions, allows them to feel its meaning, and does not have to be explained.”http://www.onformsculpture.co.uk/press/resurgence_magazine_article
“Style in stone… These beautiful works carved in stone have timeless power and a strong connection with the landscape; the exhibition will appeal to serious collectors and interested visitors alike.”
The Observer, Critics Choice
“On form 06 - Over 50 pieces by 15 sculptors in the ravishing gardens of Asthall Manor and in the ballroom built for the Mitfords.”
“..the beautiful riverside setting of this Oxfordshire house [attracts] an impressive roster of leading names…”
“This is the third of Rosie’s exhibitions, and as full of pleasures and surprises as ever. There are 15 artists and more than 50 major works, some eye-catchingly displayed, others met almost casually along paths and under trees…”
“The exhibition first attracted notice for its exquisite Cotswold setting,and for the manor’s connections with the Mitford family, but since it began four years ago, it is now gaining a reputation in its own right.”
“...strong, shapely forms that manage to rhyme with the natural virtues of what they have been set among…..we feel the materiality of the thing….the sheer antiquity of the stone itself: what it was when in the ground and what, by contrast, it has now become, or is becoming.”
House & Garden
“What strikes visitors to the Garden at Asthall Manor is how much it is loved” House & Garden“Asthall surges with creativity, but more important, it belongs to the secret valley that first enchanted its owner.”
The Oxford Times
“A sort of Glyndebourne in stone.”
“The gardens of Asthall Manor were used for on form 04 taking sculpture out of the gallery and putting it into a living breathing space.”
“At on form, the rich variety of source material, colour and textures celebrate the beauty, simplicity and power of sculpture in stone.”
The Evening Standard
“See new and exciting pieces of sculpture set in the grand garden of Asthall Manor”
“The idea of sculpture at Asthall has turned out to be truly inspired. Beautifully landscaped gardens have proved to be the perfect setting for sculpture.”
The Daily Telegraph
“Never one for aesthetes, no doubt uncle Matthew would have been horrified by Asthall’s beautiful, sculpture filled grounds.”
“Garden of earthly delights”
The show has become a hotbed of inspiration for buyers and potential patrons, many of whom go on to commission works from artists whose work they have seen here, carefully sited in the glorious Cotswolds setting.