Thursday, 21 April 2016

‘A British Islander’ sculpture and art from B.E. Cole at The Whitaker

Can sculpture show a new side to nature?  Babara Cole's impressive physical art suggests so:  connecting with the landscape and uncovering the incredible wild processes at work within. Her drawings and sculptures in particular capture the various structures of an evolving natural world: with an exciting exhibition opening at Lancashire museum The Whitaker on Friday 29th April at 7pm. If you think that sculpture is just ‘decorative’, you’ll be made to think again by the diversity on display!

Cole’s work captures the landscape: embracing the rough with the smooth, how it has been shaped over time – from fossil to forest, cave to castle. She uses a range of mixed media, including modern materials, to sculpt processes which the eye cannot typically see. Art gets behind the face of nature! Things like the formation of fossils, the work of micro-organisms, are uncovered: often in alluring patterns and strange textures. It certainly is unique.

'Questioning Our Identity'

Cole’s own exploration of natural environments – including over twenty years working on the Pennine Ridge – enriches her artistry. ‘The British Islander’ is an especially interesting title to this exhibit, especially as the dust of the Scottish Referendum is far from settled and discussions over the EU may lead us to question our own national identity. Her beautifully carved and moulded structures then seem to offer a kind of answer; look to the landscape!

The Whitaker museum and art gallery in Rawtenstall, Lancashire seems like an ideal place to enjoy this exhibition. The bold Victorian building allows light to billow in through big windows, making Cole’s designs shimmer and stand out. To see her work certainly is a powerful experience, as she is an Associate of the Royal British Society of Sculptors, with a number of works already acclaimed. It takes great skill to uncover the organic structures and secret processes in nature, and turn these into physical art forms which make us think, after all.

'A Comprehensive and Unique View in East Lancashire'

The Whitaker
Lancashire also seems like a fitting area to host this unique sculpture experience – as is a county recognised for its physical artworks, especially the ‘Panopticons’. You may not have heard of this title specifically, but it is collective term used to describe an artistic regeneration project here, featuring sculptures such as The Singing Ringing Tree and the Haslingden Halo. These Panopticons are structures designed to provide a comprehensive and unique view in East Lancashire – and the other two are The Atom and Colourfields, in Blackburn. It seems that Lancashire then is a place for iconic sculptures, and thus that Cole’s work is coming here is even more significant.

Originally from South Wales, Cole now exhibits not just on a national level, but internationally too - emphasizing the power of her creations. Examples of previous work include De Rerum Natura (on The Nature of Things) which is a biomorphic wax sculpture on a bed of dyed sand, mimicking the crushed creatures in sediment, the fossils in a rock face. Cole’s work is creative, uses cutting-edge techniques and is open to interpretation; so why not treat yourself to something unique and get down to the opening at The Whitaker?

 The Friday evening session gives guests a chance to get close to the art and enjoy the experience, as well as considering what it is to be a ‘British Islander’. With beautiful interiors and a fully-fitted bar, The Whitaker emphasizes the importance of art and public interaction with it: don’t miss out.

For more information you can visit The Whitaker website: