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Carving in Britain: From 1910 to Now
30 November 2012 - 12 January 2013

The Fine Art Society is proud to present a historic exhibition across two floors of the gallery that tells the story of carving in Britain from 1910 to the present day.

In the early years of the Twentieth Century sculpture in this country shifted in a dramatic new direction with the rediscovery of what Henry Moore later termed ‘direct carving’. Around this time Eric Gill had started to carve figures directly, and the more adventurous of his contemporaries also began to sculpt wood and stone in a freehand manner.

This was a radical change from the practice of Victorian sculptors who farmed out their modelled works and statues to workshops which would produce carved versions using pointing machines. Beginning in the 1920s, a younger generation that included Moore and Barbara Hepworth moved direct carving further towards a growing abstraction. Inspired by the tribal carvings they saw in the British Museum, their works were freed from the constraints of Classical conventions, instead possessing a raw and more immediate emotional vitality.

These artists understood the emotional bond that grew between sculptor and stone in working it directly, and the consequent expressive vitality the resulting carving conveyed. They also chose stone quarried from extremities in Britain that contained the identity and character of the landscape itself.

Alongside the twentieth century carving, The Fine Art Society Contemporary presents work by a divergent group of contemporary artists who demonstrate that not only is the practice of direct carving still alive today but also that the legacy of these modern masters remains and is an important point of departure for artists exhibiting in Britain in the twenty first century.