Tony Cragg

Reflecting on what I do and what I have seen, a recent exhibition of Tony Cragg's work at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park leaped to the forefront of my mind. Just like Wendell Castle, Cragg's outdoor work has been lodged in my memory since seeing it in person, and it is only now that I can see almost digitally designed elements that tie in with avenues that I am investigating myself.

(Cragg - Good Face - 2007)

Whilst I have not been looking at geological forms, nor have I been trying to incorporate biological representations, I am an admirer of Cragg's love of materials. He appreciates the material and "moves between traditional materials to entirely original, experimental ones - using aesthetic and expressive potential of matter to raise the viewer's awareness of how we perceive each form in space" (Comis & Franciolli, 2012).

His work does not stand out as being one thing or another, it is ambiguous. This is a theme that I am already interested in when admiring Castle's work - is it organic sculpture or furniture? The more I think about this debate (sculture v product) the more I want the things that I make to be useful. To make an object that serves no purpose other than to be observed seems pointless. The random abstract form needs to coincide with a purpose. More importantly, I want the materials to be aesthetically pleasing and where possible, turning everyday materials into something impressive - both of which are concerns shared by Cragg.

A recent VR sculpture session produced the example below, and although partially 3d printed in plastic, inadvertently resembles certain Castle and Cragg works. The possibility to alter the material texture and appearance in a digital environment to resemble something more traditional, such as bronze or stainless steel, opens up interesting conversations that need to be explored...

(Cragg - Distant Cousins - Stainless Steel - 2008)

Comis, G., Franciolli, M., & Museo d'Arte, Citta Di Lugano. (2012). Tony cragg. Milan: Silvana Editorale.

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