This evening I enjoyed attending the private view of the
2017 Borde Hill Garden Sculpture Exhibition
The sun was shining today and so I made sure that I arrived early for the Private View, leaving enough time to have an hour enjoying the sculptures in the beautiful setting of Borde Hill Garden.
With my wife, Susan, I enjoyed walking around parts of the garden that I had not previously seen when I installed my work. The plan supplied listed all of the works and in the time we had prior to the reception for sculptors and guests we were not able to see all of the work. It is obvious that visitors to the exhibition will be able to enjoy several hours, if not a whole day, enjoying the extensive gardens and exhibits.
Our hosts at Borde Hill had erected a marquee at the West side of the Azalea Ring, where they provided drinks and canapes for their guests who were able to chat or simply relax to music played by a string quartet. A few short speeches were made by the owner, Andrewjohn Stephenson Clarke, the sponsors of the exhibition and the author Peter James, after which we all moved to the South Lawn for the official opening of the exhibition.
The sculpture in the show is varied in scale, genre and media. The works on the South Lawn include stunning stone carvings by Jordi Raga and Jason Mulligan along with the figure of 'Grace' by Juliet Scott. These benefited from the backdrop of the magnificent Elizabethan Borde Hill House which is truly beautiful. It was no surprise to me that the opening of the exhibition took place adjacent to Jordi's work, which are beautifully made pieces of sculpture.
Having officially opened the exhibition we were all able to chat to one another and I struck up a conversation with Jason Mulligan, only to find that he worked in a studio very close to my own home. Like most sculptors we had much in common and Jason, Susan and I continued our evening by chatting as we walked around the gardens looking at the work on display.
It was nice to meet with Jason. It can be difficult to make such connections if, like me, you are somewhat reluctant to attend gatherings such as gallery events or exhibition openings and when the activity of making work is solitary. It is becoming more obvious to me that there are many of us labouring away at our work, completely unaware of others in close proximity who are doing the same; ignorant of each others existence. It is only through exhibiting that I am now able to make such connections with like minded individuals as I am not really a 'joiner' in a social sense.
One thing that has become self evident, through the experience of exhibiting work over the last month, is just how problematic it can be moving and installing large scale work. Seeing some of the smaller works in the exhibitions has made me decide to take these difficulties into account when making new work. Over the next year I am going to try to be more sensible in relation to the scale of the works produced. Whilst large expansive gardens can make smaller sculpture seem almost insignificant, with sensitive placement such works can still hold their own and look perfectly fine, enhancing or being enhanced by the environment in which they are exhibited.
I enjoyed visiting the Italian garden with Susan and Jason where we could see two of my works. Since I installed them they have been joined by the work by Richard Strachey and Paul Harvey. Their work provide a contrast to my own which makes the area all the more interesting for visitors. From there we made our way to the new permanent installation by Gabrielle Evans of Gabrielle Gardens and looked through the portholes at the plants, reflected to infinity by the mirrors within. before moving on again on to the North side of then gardens where there are very many works of sculpture to be enjoyed.
I would encourage anyone who loves sculpture and/or gardens to make a visit to Borde Hill Garden between now and October. I am sure they will not be disappointed. It would be nice to get some feedback from those who visit the exhibitions. Whilst it is lovely to get positive comments from family and friends, I think additional feedback from others would be interesting and informative. If you make a visit please do make a comment via my website or my Facebook page.