WELLS CATHEDRAL PROPOSAL
Or What’s a Heaven For? 2021
Installation proposed for the interior of Wells Cathedral as part of Wells Art Contemporary 2021. The title comes from a stanza of Robert Browning’s poem Andrea del Sarto: “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,/ Or what’s a heaven for?”
A shelter and its inside mass are bolted together back-to-back, the one supporting the other. The house is occupied; cones of smoke emanate from where the chimney might be. The fire that sustains feelings may quickly become the fire that consumes. From the core of the sculpture comes a dramatic column or plume rising heavenwards like the structure of the cathedral itself. Linking gravity with lightness, earth with sky, this is the spirit of the house, home or shelter or more likely of the individual within.
This work is part of an ongoing project: drawings and small objects that explore architectural metaphor using the combined interior and exterior of a simplified house, terrace, palace or shelter. The sculpture neatly connects recent works relating to architectural metaphor with pieces made 50 years ago for BLOW UP 71 at the Serpentine Galleries in which helium-filled weather balloons were used as short-lived but ultimately unreliable means of suspending fabric.
MOST RECENT EXHIBITION
Two works were in the Royal West of England Academy’s 2020 Open 168.
Sculptor’s Drawing began life as a preliminary drawing for the sculpture Think Fast, Act Slow commissioned for the exhibition A Good Age at the Devon Guild of Craftsmen in Bovey Tracey in 2019 – and then took on a life of its own. Sculpture is normally thought of as static but the trolley in Sculptor’s Drawing suggests mobility – a potential for movement of something too heavy to lift. Sculptors tend to look for different things in drawing than other artists – relating to materials, space, scale and finish. For King drawings act not as designs for sculpture but as preparatory stages towards realisation.
Husk was also made as preparation for Think Slow, Act Fast, to explore imagery and ideas extending recurrent themes of earlier work – ideas sometimes conceived long ago but not yet realised. Longhouse forms piled up dynamically suggest discarded husks or shells – the residue of former experiences or lives – surmounted by what may be thought of as the here-and-now.
For more information, see http://www.rwa.org.uk.
Below: THEN & NOW: EXHIBITION AT THE SHIPPON GALLERY BEFORE COVID CLOSURE. IT IS STILL IN PLACE AWAITING REOPENING IN SAFER TIMES
Installing the exhibition in January 2020
The Studio, Bethnal Green, London 1979. Photo: Edward Woodman
Over many years I have developed and refined a lexicon of imagery through extensive drawing and the business of studio practice. The long-house, villas and indeed palaces are seen as dwelling places of the mind. They stand as metaphors for the artist’s self-image and over time have acquired dramatic attachments around, above and beneath. These include axes, needle and thread, letters or boulders and, almost always, a sailboat, steamer or ladder crossing the wave/roof of the long building with smoke, steam or flame emerging from within. Earth Red House 2018 (below) is the latest of these works.
My main interests concern identity allied to the demands and potential of sculpture and materials. The latter includes the use of strong colour with wood, bronze casts and, for greater plasticity and touch, fired stoneware clay.
Waves, Memories, Reflection 1985
The sculpture and drawings I make in the studio are primarily for gallery or museum exhibition. However, I have also had opportunities to build very large works for sites as diverse as Socrates Sculpture Park in New York, a traffic island in St Louis, Missouri (above), a remote field in South West Ireland and Victoria Park in Bath. In London Docklands I built a sculpture using sizeable off-cuts from Canary Wharf and have a permanent sculpture Shadowplay 1992 (below), at East India Docks, memorialising the past working life of the site.
n East Devon, I work principally on sculptures of a more personal nature – essentially creative/poetic metaphors. My latest major project was a commission for the Devon Guild of Craftsmen and Libraries Unlimited for their exhibition A Good Age: Change in my Time at Riverside Mill, Bovey Tracey in 2019.
For more images of sculpture see http://www.devonartistnetwork.co.uk/artists/david-king
A GOOD AGE
Think Slow, Act Fast in the studio at Hook Farm before installation in A Good Age
Jess Pearson of Shimnix Films made the film below about the project of A Good Age. It includes interviews with all the artists involved and many participants. At the same time filmmaker Poppy Green interviewed Dave King for a series of short films I Know This To Be True and this film is the final item in his profile.
1962-65 Sutton Coldfield School of Art, Birmingham
1965-68 Leeds College of Art, Dept of Fine Art: Diploma in Art & Design, First Class Hons, July 1968
1968-70 Slade School of Fine Art: University of London Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Art/ Sculpture, June 1970
SOLO EXHIBITIONS include:
2019/2020 THEN & NOW, Shippon Gallery, East Devon
2006 CURIOUS OTHERS, ShillamSmith3, London W1
1994 FLOATING WORLDS, South Hill Park, Bracknell
1993 Angela Flowers (Ireland) Inc., Rosscarbery, Co. Cork
1991 Ben Shahn Galleries, William Paterson College, New Jersey
1984 Solo exhibition in the studio of Joel Fisher, Brooklyn, New York
1982 City Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke on Trent
1978 & 1980 Angela Flowers Gallery, London
GROUP EXHIBITIONS include:
2020 – 2021 ROYAL WEST OF ENGLAND ACADEMY 168th OPEN, Bristol
2019 A GOOD AGE, The Devon Guild of Craftsmen, Bovey Tracey
GENERATIVE DRAWING – PARALLEL PATHS with Joel Fisher, Shippon Gallery
ABSTRACT REFLECTION with Patrick Jones, Shippon Gallery
2018 SCULPTURE @ THE WALLED GARDEN, Moreton, Dorset
APPETO: PUBLIC ART & PRIVATE WORLDS with George Sherlock, Shippon Gallery
ACADEMICIAN CANDIDATES EXHIBITION, RWA Annual Open 166, RWA, Bristol
2017 INAUGURAL EXHIBITION with Diana Kerswell, Shippon Gallery
2016 & 2017 RWS CONTEMPORARY WATERCOLOUR COMPETITION, Bankside Gallery, London
2014 LOST, Salisbury Arts Centre
DELAMORE ARTS, Ivybridge, Devon,
RWS CONTEMPORARY WATERCOLOUR, Bankside Gallery
2012 EQUALITY & ENDEAVOUR, Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton
2000 – 2012 SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL, Flowers East Gallery, London
1999/2001 SCULPTURE AT GOODWOOD, Goodwood Sculpture Park, West Sussex
1998 XXth CENTURY SCULPTURE, Millfield School, Somerset (Jun-Sept)
BRITISH FIGURATIVE ART Part 2:SCULPTURE, Flowers East
1997 LEWES SCULPTURE TRAIL, Lewes, Sussex ( Aug – Oct )
1996 COVENTRY/PORTO ART EXCHANGE, Universidade do Porto
BRITISH ABSTRACT ART – part 3, Works on paper, Flowers East
1995 SCULPTURE GARDEN, Henley Festival for music and the arts
BRITISH ABSTRACT ART – pt.2, SCULPTURE, Flowers East
1990 HAND, BODY, HOUSE, Ben Shahn Gallery, William Paterson College, New Jersey
LARGE SCALE OUTDOOR EXHIBITIONS/COMMISSIONS:
2018 A GOOD AGE – Commission for Devon Guild of Craftsmen/Libraries Unlimited
1993/2003 CIRCLE OF UNDERSTANDING, Angela Flowers (Ireland) Inc.
1992 SHADOWPLAY – Steel and bronze sculpture commission, East India Dock, London E14
1991 ART OUTSIDE – Millwall Inner Dock , London
1988 SCULPTORS WORKING – Socrates Sculpture Park, New York
1986 ARTSITE – Sculpture in the City, work on-site for Victoria Park, Bath
1985 VIVACE – outdoor sculpture project, St Louis, Missouri
2013 Member of Fabric Advisory Committee, Exeter Cathedral
2002-2006 External assessor, BA Hons. Sculpture, Norwich School of Art
2001-2003 External assessor for sculpture, Royal College of Art, London
1999-2003 External assessor, Birmingham Institute of Art & Design
1987 Elected chair of sculpture selection panel – The British School at Rome
1986 Fine Art Board of the Council for National Academic Awards
1985-1988 External Assessor, BA(Hons) Sculpture, Chelsea School of Art
1991-2002 0.5 Senior Lecturer in Sculpture, Coventry University
1998-2003 Sculpture tutor, Working Men’s College, London NW1
1995 Visiting lecturer, Royal Academy Schools & Wimbledon School of Art
1990-1994 Visiting lecturer at Winchester & Norwich Schools of Art, WSCAD/Farnham & Kingston University
1988-1991 Principal Lecturer/Head of Sculpture, Middlesex Polytechnic
1981-1988 Principal Lecturer/Head of Sculpture, WSCAD, Farnham
1973-1981 Visiting lecturer, including Bath Academy, Norwich, Central and Canterbury Schools of Art
1970-1972 Sculpture Dept, School of Fine Art, Liverpool Polytechnic 0.6SL
British Council, Arts Council of Great Britain, Leicestershire Education Authority, Wakefield Museums Service, Contemporary Arts Society, Victoria and Albert Museum. Also works in public and private collections in England, France, Ireland, Japan, Sweden, USA, Canada and Lithuania