Day 11 – Shelley, ‘Capability’ Brown and the dangers of the cerebral

We carve a mile or two from Field Place where the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley grew up. In his childhood he probably walked the course of the Arun right past our stone, with his Horsham-dwelling cousin Thomas Medwin. Today, a red kite flew over the river valley in the harsh winds. Are they common in the area?

A conceptual sculpture might play on the possibility of spirits of the historic creatives, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown and Shelley somehow meeting whilst the former perhaps strayed beyond surveying the watercourse at Hills Place. (Brown died 9 years before Shelley was born). But art has the danger of becoming cerebrally laden, intellect either leading or substituting for the simplicity of visual form and material texture. Feeling in the work may suffer.

Adding the vital spark to an inanimate object is something which the sculptor lives for. Ten years ago, observing the sculpted clay head I had just created had a profound effect on my then sitter’s partner – seeing life in the created object. She contrasted this experience with being with a close friend after death, of seeing the life blood lost – and an empty shell remaining.

Shelley added the magic spark to words, which with appropriate punctuation and spacing took on a rhythm which enrichened mere meaning. We will discover that the Shelleys had a recurring theme with the vital spark – sign up to the journal here by email for the next instalment.

Today, photographer Anne Purkiss dropped in on her way back from an assignment in the South Downs National Park. Her fixed point photographic recording earlier in the day led to a idea for a combination image which documented day 11.

Edgar, Jon; 2019-03-16 combo eds

Day 11: Jon Edgar and Portland stone, Highwood Village, Horsham. image A. Purkiss (2019)

The sentinel-like oak (bottom left); the fulling mill wheel newly enlarged today (top left); the start of a horizontal plane representing the Arun (bottom right) – these all start to appear as nascent images which have connection significant to remain in the final work.

In the top right image, three profile heads are far less important to me, but appeared late in the day. They will invigorate that side of the block for a good few sessions to come.

Next days on site Weds 20th, Sunday 24th. Follow images on twitter (@massform) and instagram (@thejonedgar).

 

header image: William Ordway Partridge, Bust of Percy Bysshe Shelley (1899) plaster, Smithsonian American Art Museum and Jon Edgar, posthumous clay head of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown (2016)

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