The fourth public sculpture commission for ‘SCULPTURE AT Bermondsey Square’ and the launch of the second phase of the project is a new commission by British artist Lucy Tomlins.
With ‘Pylon and Pier’, Tomlins takes the public square as the work’s starting point. Traditionally this is where statues of distinguished people are sited, usually placed there to reinforce notions of power or national prestige. Tomlins’ sculpture reverses this, however, presenting a statue of the Titan Atlas – not as in Greek mythology holding up the sky for eternity, but fallen from its plinth and, grasping the globe, lain on its side. The viewer’s gaze, which would normally be directed upwards in awe, now stares across on the felled colossus drained, the loss of his mythological strength underscored by the diminutive size of his body – he is only 1.4 metres in height, thus allowing the beholder a more intimate interaction with the work.
Tomlins’ use of Atlas is a direct visual reference to another inspiration for the work, American poet Wallace Stevens’ poem, ‘The Public Square’ (1931), which describes the demolition of a modernist building as a metaphor for systemic collapse. After the dust settles, all that remains, Wallace avers, is, ‘The bijou of Atlas, the moon/Was last with its porcelain leer.’
Lucy Tomlins currently lives and works between London, UK and Castellón, Spain. She received her MA in Sculpture from the Royal College of Art (2012). Her objects, installations and assemblages combine a range of traditional materials including stone, concrete and metals with contemporary materials including light, moving image and sound. Through a process of remaking and rearranging the ready-made objects of our society, Lucy’s artwork creates uncanny relationships between seemingly disparate materials and things in an attempt to make sense of her everyday, situated, social context.
Unapologetically defining herself as a ‘sculptor’ in a time of dematerialised art practice, she embraces the deeply rooted commitment to craft skills within this art form and offers elasticity to sculptural technique that harnesses the values, principles and commitments of a sensibility preoccupied with the phenomenological experience of materiality and space.
Recent exhibitions include Use/User/Used (2016) and Invites (2013), Zabludowicz Collection, London; Under the Cloche or You Always Catch Me Napkin (2016), Bosse and Baum, London; BayArt, Cardiff ; Worcester Cathedral and the Royal British Society of Sculptors, London. Her most recent commission was for Deutsche Bank and she has produced outdoor public sculpture commissions for Battersea Park, London and Cowley Manor, Gloucestershire. She has work permanently cited in Grizedale Forest, Lake District.
The recipient of the Royal British Society of Sculptures Bursary Award in 2013, she was also recipient of the Deutsche Bank Creative Enterprises 2012 Award in Art as well as the 2011 Annual Battersea Park Sculpture Award. She was shortlisted for the Coutts/Cowley Manor Art Prize in 2012 and selected for the Catlin Guide 2013 as one of 40 of the most exciting post graduate artists from UK art schools in 2012.
Lucy has co-curated/co-produced a number of London-based talks, workshops, exhibitions and residencies including the Pangaea Sculptors’ Centre 2015 Residency in a record store and Autumn artists’ residency, Taking Shape and Which on of these is the non-smoking lifeboat? exhibitions. She co-wrote Sculpting Practice: Catching a Train on the Move, London 2015 with Dr. Marsha Bradfield which has recently launched and is under distribution with Cornerhouse Publishing.