We are delighted to announce our first visiting artist exhibition of Norfolk sculptor Bob Catchpole.
Bob's sculptures present a dichotomy: both humorous yet thought provoking, these pieces intrigue. The works are highly tactile and well crafted, demanding to be touched.
Artist's Statement 2021
Bob Catchpole harnesses the agricultural tool as a metaphor for man's relationship with landscape and buildings, attempting to explore the historic and contemporary link between the land and the built environment. His work uses farm tools that have helped to reconstruct the landscape of Norfolk whilst also celebrating the rich variety and sophistication of the tools needed to work the land.The sculptures undermine our preconceptions about the nature of function and the man-made world we inhabit. The tools become surreal objects, at once humorous and mysterious.
Simple imagery with a strong graphic quality draws me in. Rhythmic bands of interest broken with a vertical focal point is visual poetry to my eyes. The striping delineates and dissects the panorama. Whether wide or sinuous - it’s the dynamic of the sections that is exciting. It is the balance and harmony versus the abrasion of colours and textures that is engaging. I see the challenge as an artist, is how to make such basic inspiration intriguing - to translate the joy into something tangible through media. A lifetime of layering different materials to build and excavate has led to multiple approaches. The current fascination with pigment and wax has evolved over many years of experimenting to source a painting medium that embraced all that I needed to execute the energies within. In these natural materials I have found a voice that speaks my mother tongue.
ABOVE: NOWHERE TO HIDE, NORFOLK
ABOVE: SERENITY, HOLKHAM BEACH, NORFOLK
ABOVE: NOWHERE TO HIDE, NORFOLK
ABOVE: FIRST SIGHT, HOLKHAM BEACH, NORFOLK
ABOVE: BREATHE BEFORE STORM, HOLKHAM BEACH, NORFOLK
I am seeking to create on the canvas, an almost reincarnation of a fleeting moment that requires an enveloping of the elements at the site. Whether a tranquil haven or a dramatic storm the immersion is aided with research: sketches, colour studies and photographic details. But the process of absorption, reflection and creation is so full of energy and dynamic interactions, between myself and the medium, that I find the best way to record my inspiration is by filming the subject matter. Just by taking video clips, the essence of a place is better transported to my studio, than through stills that freeze the energy I wish to evoke. Whilst, wishing to paint on site seems attractive, my chosen medium is very limited, as intense heat and power are critical.
In the studio it is a juggling act of controlling hot and cold - an alchemy of materials and old techniques mixed with new technologies. The materials are natural: pigments and bees wax, mixed with dammar resin to set the strokes. These are brushed, knifed, poured and rubbed onto specially sealed wooden boards, then layered and fused, layered and fused and repeated. The rhythm is broken by incising, texturising and sgraffito. The process is reactive with a strong element of serendipity tempered by intuition. I embrace the challenge and realise it will take more than a lifetime to hone any skill set.
The heated palettes provide softened creamy molten colour in tins waiting to be saturated with pigment or thinned and translucent. Mixing colours and different quantities of wax opens up endless possibilities for saturation and washes. The range of hand toolsemployed is vast from fine dental steel implements to large chunky brushes made of wood and natural animal hair. Wax and pigments are fused with heat, which dries quickly, capturing brush strokes, drips and textures. Encaustic art is an all consuming very physical practice.One is seduced by the process of not just applying paint with a brush, palette knife or hands but also the harnessing of heat to energise materials and move the liquids around. The fluidity of the process allows the materials to mix and metamorphose.
There are examples of this ancient art, practiced by the Greeks and the Egyptians, from 2000 years ago. The British Museum has examples of portraits from 100-300 AD. The Fayum encaustic pictures are still vibrant, providing an amazing historical testament to the longevity of the medium. Painted as part of the mummy casing, the deceased’s portrait was depicted fully dressed with a background around the head. A visit to see these in the flesh is at the top of my list for my next research trip to London.
We've fallen in love with antique tin tiles from US and would like to share their interesting history.
Tin tiles were introduced to the USA in 1800s as an affordable way to mimmic the ornate plaster ceilings, covings, cornices and wainscots found in European houses. These architectural elements became very popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s, leading to the development of around forty five US tin companies in the nineteenth century. Whilst easy, quick and cheap to install the added benefit of their fire retardant nature added to their appeal.
Designers were commissioned to create elaborate patterns that formed expansive ornate ceilings cleverly echoing the continental style. Designs varied from geometric to ornate swagged flourishes. Typically, a palette of white and creams dominated, whilst green, ochre and rust were also popular.
Sheets of tin plate were pressed over a cast iron decorative mould to create a patterned metal in relief. The metal was then painted to evoke plasterwork. The light weight tin tiles were easy to install adding to their fashionable status.
Salvaging original tin tiles is a specialised job as the tiles are fragile and can easily be damaged. We have found a reliable source who scours the US for hidden stocks and then imports them for us.
Now highly covetable, the antique tiles are salvaged and mounted as individual pieces of architectural history with a strong aesthetic and tactile appeal.
Each is different depending on its history and position in a room.
Simply framed in a rustic style, with raw edges and nails, the tiles and shelving are easy to hang.
The tiles and shelves are in lovely old condition with an attractive old paint patina, naturally created through age. The tile has been wrapped over a timber frame - for a close fit just hang the wooden frame on a picture pin.
The tin coving is transformed into unique shelving with a rustic timber shelf on the top and simple fittings on the back for a flush fit. Please study the photographs.
What can I do with a tin tile?
There are numerous easy and stylish ways to use antique tin tiles in your room.
Hang one on its own as a piece of architectural history - with its texture, colour and detail it makes an interesting talking point. Choose a tile that compliments your wall colour - a close match will be more harmonious whilst a strong contrast more dynamic: considering opposites on the colour wheel can be helpful.
Build a facia with tin tiles and create a unique surface and design.
Hang a small group as if they were paintings. We’ve hung them almost as bookends, with an array of personal objects and framed finds, with the shelves showcasing small sculptures.
They make great splash backs above basins. We advise selecting ones that don’t have flaking paint, otherwise it could get quite messy!
Mount one above your mantlepiece and create an intriguing backdrop for your favourite things.
Create a patterned headboard out of old tiles.
A curated group of tiles can cover an entire wall making a statement feature wall.
Antique covings transformed into shelving look fabulous on their own or for a stronger statement add a coordinating tile behind.
And of course you could cover your ceiling with them!
With the shift in design to focus on more sustainable living, these antique tin tiles are not only ethically sourced, but also are recyclable.
Have fun developing your own ideas with these versatile pieces of history and do share your ideas. We love to see what our clients create.