Challenge by Theodore Gillick
For more information and purchase details please call the Gallery on 01796 483236.
Dimensions: H51cm x W56cm x D35.5cm
Here is a stag in rut, a vivid month of sex and warfare, little food and constant effort. This fabulous animal in his prime is nearing the end of the rut with his belly hollow. Whilst he bellows, the eyes roll back, the neck extends, the belly of indigestible heather and course grasses heaves up into the rib cage.
There is always a balance to be struck in describing an anatomy and here the accurate study of proportion and build, of knock-kneed back legs and the bow and sweep of a set of antlers forms the bedrock on which finish and surface are used to suggest more about the ruggedness of the animal and his surroundings.
About the Artist:
Theodore Gillick grew up in a rebel family anchored in the cult of its culture and specialising in one of its most distinctive fruits – the transference of our common experiences, observations and discoveries in the fields of truth and beauty into hard assets, through the medium of ones hands, heart and soul.
Rooted in this, and in four generations of professional artists and artisans, draughtsmen and craftsmen of his immediate and extended family, Theodore instead excelled in Botany at Aberdeen University, won a scholarship to the University Botanical Gardens in Jerusalem and there a friend introduced him to sculpture. Returning home, he consulted for the Macaulay Research Institute walking and surveying the estates and landscapes of Scotland and her Islands but finally surrendered in 1995 to retrain in sculpture and stone carving. Finishing that course with an award, he set about developing work and ideas and received his first commissioned work in 1997. He now runs a large, private studio and foundry.
The practice of animalia - the depiction of animals in art, an important component of Theodore’s output, is today quite unlike any previous period in this ancient genera. You can see in his pieces no allegory, no symbolism, no human sentiment. It is the art of secret observation, a world viewed on its own terms, and delight in that observation. It is David Attenborough in metal, describing wildlife in its most natural state.
The response of the art buyer to a good piece of contemporary animal sculpture has everything to do with the sense of place and occasion that animals in the landscape conjure in the imagination and memory. The challenge in is to convey by touch, texture and shape not a super-accurate likeness but a truthful attitude, an internal energy that fills the modelling with life and vibrates the air around the work. He transfers this to his mediums with either a freedom that expresses the immediacy of a pose, or with an abstraction that enables him to summarise a form for his viewers. In all of them is an attempt to escape the terrible restrictions of sculpture, which can not set a thing in a landscape, or in perspective, so by modelling and design he aims to suggest to you the wheel rut and the sun the hare is lying in, the clatter of wings, or the keen wind that rakes the mane.
Working in a full complement of media, Theodore’s sculpture is varied in subject and theme, throughout all of which is an identifiable character of strength and interior life. His hand is as free in bronze as it is in stone and marble: in metal he captures all that is fleeting, and in marble he dignifies and studies a form in its essence. In the variety of his sculptures and portraits one can therefore expect to find quiet and sensitive forms, and at other times an intensity that concentrates itself into a work bursting with life.
Theodore gives a lot of time to commissions, makes relatively few new editions for public sale, releases what he makes slowly and is not a mass production artist.
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