scluptures made from steel

Bowes Moor

As I referred to earlier, the paper pattern templates that I used as the basis for developing ideas for sculptures and also as a material for collage, were located in a part of a warehouse that I also used as a studio. These pattern templates had strong associations to do with the figure and because they were suspended from the ceiling by a series of hooks, slightly sinister qualities that I wanted to explore further. A 'troubling duality' as one commentator explains.

"Unassuming perhaps, at first sight, prolonged contemplation of the works, especially in series, reveals their grimly pragmatic function. The pendulum pieces are nothing without their bolt assembly. Aesthetic contemplation of the harmony and balance of each composition depends entirely on the literal balance resulting from hanging-take it down from the wall and it ceases to signify, its parts lying inert and awry. The bolt also brings to mind the slaughterhouse. The pieces in the gallery-as in the studio-are hung like carcasses in a butcher’s shop, which is not to deny their beauty, but merely to strike it through with a sense of the brutally real. In their way these are the inheritors of the intensely realised carcasses of Rembrandt and Francis Bacon."

Dr. Colin Rhodes

Outcomes of this research were initially exhibited in a solo show of my work at Hartford University, Connecticut in October 1998. A great deal of interest was stimulated by this exhibition and subsequent lecture tour that took me to arts related institutions in Richmond Virginia, Kansas City, Missouri and New Orleans, Louisiana.

As a result of this, other solo exhibitions of this work were organised at the Grayson Gallery, Vermont, Davis Gallery, Massachusetts, Alpha Gallery, Boston, Massachusetts and Shillam+Smith 3 in London. Critical acclaim of this work has stimulated further research opportunities for 2000 and 2001, including my first solo exhibition in New York City.

The Real Gallery, New York exhibited evidence of this research in Febuary 2000 and this followed by two simultaneous solo exhibitions of my work in high profile venues in New Orleans in March 2000.

Other venues for this work were:

2002 - Scorched Earth - Drawings and Sculptures, Philadelphia Art Alliance, Philadelphia PA, USA
2001 - The Made and the Unmade, Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, Kansas City Missouri, USA
2001 - Pendulum Reliefs, Paesaggio Gallery, Hartford KT, USA
2000 - The Made and the Unmade, Hemmingway Gallery, Boise, Idaho

The relationship between this most recent research and how it has fused my approach to different modes of expression within the field of Fine Art practice has been examined in the recent publication that accompanied my exhibition at Shillam+Smith 3 in London.

"Atkins hangings repeatedly draw us into a literary context, particularly towards works such as Mary Wolstencraft Shelley’s Modern Prometheus. We cannot help but speculate about the artists role as the potentially obsessive collector of corporeal patterns and of their potential use without due consideration of Shelley’s depiction of the creation myth and of its burden upon the creator. Certainly as we have already mentioned there is a sense of potential reanimation in the work, a possibility for further manipulation of elements which seem to have been deliberately arrested in the course of their surface development into full blown objects. As though to reinforce this static yet momentary state of the union between material, image and location, one soon becomes acutely aware of the terms sculpture and painting when trying to make a critical assessment of this work. Atkin’s sublime hangings dare us to refute the leftovers of the modernist dilemma of the sculpture/painting dichotomy in favour of a more diversified field of both reception and critique."

Neil Powell
Cut, The Made and the Unmade, Urban Eye, 1999

As much as I am indebted to Henry Moore for the generosity he extended to me in 1982, I am also mindful of the earlier agglomeration of subtle influences that shaped the core of my creativity. The industrial and rural landscape of the North East of England and also, the silent social stalemate that permeated much of my parents life.



"Pendulum Reliefs"

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