<<<< proposals


Autumn 2001

Site : ‘The Bear Pit’, Mersey Square, Stockport

The Mayor of Stockport instigated a £1000 ' Spirit of Stockport ' sculpture prize, to commission a major public sculpture for the centre of the town. I was one of the four short-listed finalists.

Proposal :

Whilst visiting the Duomo in Siena, Italy in the Summer I was greatly impressed by the statues on the façade carved in the 13th century by the sculptor Giovanni Pisano. As a work of public art I thought they were brilliantly conceived, not only in their individual expressive qualities but also in the way they related to each other and the observer in the street.

I felt that life-size figurative sculpture could express levels of humanity that much self-consciously contemporary art work cannot do, we can all relate to a posed figure,  The basis of my proposal therefore is three realistically modelled figures, life-size, which I would model in clay and then cast in bronze. The theme I chose was one that represented a selection of generations from a family unit of elderly mother, her son and her granddaughter. I would hope that I would be able to model the poses of the figures, their gaze, stance and gesture appropriately and in relation with each other and their position in the Bear Pit site.

Rather than design one big sculpture, I was more attracted with using the relationships between figures to describe, delineate and interact with an area that was larger than the human scale of the figures.I would plan to use local residents as subjects for the statues and I would plan to do a few small scale maquettes in clay from the initial sittings, so they can see the poses realised as 3D form , devoid of colour as it is likely be resolved. I would have had to insist that I dictated the stylistic and technical quality of the modelling but as I felt that a ‘ no-style’ realism approach would be best, this should not have been too much of a hurdle.

I wanted to use the figures to work both as individually interesting in terms of their pose, but also in relationship to each other and in relation to their setting.  

View from direction of Chestergate towards the main Stockport Road/River Mersey

The woman figure on the bridge is visible from the main road so making the viewing public on the road want to see ‘ what she is looking at ‘, drawing them into viewing the other figures below. The woman is meant to be viewing the main Merseyway/Chestergate  shopping complex and the heart of Stockport, looking forward but also looking back as I envisage the figure as an older person.

The man below is at the rail, linked to the river Mersey which is itself a link or passage to many other places in the North West and possibly also a metaphor for passage in and out of the town and the passage of time. The girl on the podium represents the new generation, which will always be the centre of attention , in a position of unknowing opportunity

View from Daw Bank road side of the Bear Pit looking towards the main Stockport Road

The materials I would plan for the final piece, would be to cast the figures in bronze which would be very hardy and vandal-resistant. Also it would be possible to paint or stain the castings, maybe in white, if I thought that dark bronze colouring was not appropriate.