Evolving sculpture by Phoebe Cummings at gallery
25th February 2020
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From Saturday, March 7 visitors to Wolverhampton Art Gallery will be able to see one of the most interesting British artists working with clay, Phoebe Cummings, in her solo exhibition This Was Now.

The exhibition is a new commission from the award-winning Staffordshire-based artist exploring clay as a time-based medium and seeking to understand the multiple ways in which we might record temporary sculpture; individually and collectively. This exhibition also reflects on the theme of how we record memories, which is central to the Victoria & Albert: Our Lives in Watercolour on display at the Lichfield Street venue at the same time.


Throughout the exhibition Cummings will create a new work in raw clay, which will evolve over the course of the show. The gallery will operate as a site of live production and research where the public are invited to be active in the process of recording the changing work through drawing and writing.


As a legacy of the project an album of public responses will be created while the sculpture itself will be recycled and the clay taken forward in future works. The sculpture will take its inspiration from nature as well as 19th century pattern books and japanned ware from the gallery’s collection.


Councillor Harman Banger, City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “Phoebe’s work is a sculpture that visitors can see changing every day.


“There are a number of events that allow adults and children to get hands-on experience with clay and I am sure it will be enjoyable and educational for all.”


Cummings’ labour-intensive and beautifully crafted installations are inspired by nature, real plants and flowers, but also those that appear in pattern books. She depicts the natural world, but sometimes creates imagined forms. Her elaborate constructions usually take several days to complete and are always on the verge of collapse. This state of fragility and constant change are integral parts of her practice, as most of her sculptures return to their original state of raw clay.


She added: “My work is like the briefness of a flower. Part of the flower’s beauty lies in the fact that it is fleeting.”


Phoebe Cummings: This Was Now is free and can be seen during gallery opening hours, Monday to Saturday (10.30am – 4.30pm) and Sunday (11am – 4pm).


On Friday, March 6, from 5pm, visitors are invited to a private view where you can be one of the first to see the exhibition along with Victoria & Albert: Our Lives in Watercolour, plus a last chance to see Meera Syal: COMING HOME and Wolverhampton and Me.


There are also several events linked to Phoebe Cummings’ exhibition that visitors can get involved with. Cummings will be in residence in the gallery every other Wednesday from March 11, when visitors will be able to see her at work.


On Tuesday, April 7 (11am – 12pm), there will be a free drop-in clay workshop so children and parents alike can get creative.


On Saturday, April 25, from 2pm, there will be a panel discussion at the gallery focusing on the theme of memory and recording. This is free, but booking is essential via Eventbrite.


Finally, on Saturday, May 9 (11am to 4pm), the artist will be hosting a masterclass where participants can learn about different ceramic techniques, including moulding and shaping, £50pp (plus booking fee), £35 concessions (plus booking fee), book via Eventbrite.


For more information visit www.wolverhamptonart.org.uk.

About the Author

Ian Henery

Member since: 4th February 2019

Managing Director of an award winning law firm
Ian Henery Solicitors Ltd

Award winning poet and playwright

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