One of our newest artworks to Tremenheere this year is Scoop by Olivia Bax, who is an exciting new talent in contemporary sculpture, and winner of the Mark Tanner Sculpture Award (MTS); one of the most significant awards for emerging UK artists working in the field of sculpture. It seeks to reward outstanding and innovative practice, with a particular interest in work that demonstrates a commitment to process, or sensitivity to material.
Olivia Bax is guided by an interest in the process and physicality of construction. This is evident in the material she employs and the visual language and form of her sculptures. The texture speaks of the work’s history, revealing the process of forming the works.
Last year, Olivia exhibited ‘Off-Grid’ in Tremenheere Gallery, consisting of large-scale floor, hanging and wall-based sculptures. Each individual section had been drawn, formed and dressed in order to play a unique part in the series.
Made specifically for the outdoors, Scoop bears many of the hallmarks of Olivia’s indoor sculptures. Her work is often characterised by familiar elements such as a hook, handle or vessel presented in unconventional, coloured forms.
The name of this piece highlights the basin at the core of the work. Continuing her interest in repurposing discarded material as a means of building up form, Scoop employs a semi-circular stainless-steel shape that was reclaimed from Benson-Sedgwick Engineering Ltd, an engineering and metal fabricators in Dagenham. It had been discarded as part of a never-realised water feature.
“My work typically juxtaposes solid mass with drawn lines. In Scoop, the welded bars around the vessel evoke a grille, a recurring motif in my work, which encloses the sculpture while simultaneously creating extra space. However, no two lines are the same and the texture within the basin is deliberately inconsistent. Every element is unique in a celebration of individuality.” – Olivia Bax
The distinct texture of Scoop was created by moulding malleable material over a metal framework. As the piece was made to withstand the elements, hand-generated paper pulp was replaced with coarsely mixed concrete. A heavy-duty gloss blue paint was used in order to unify the texture with the flat steel. The basin’s original but aborted purpose as a water feature is referenced in the colour choice of vivid blue.
“For a sculpture with such watery origins, it seems apt that Scoop’s new home should be on a hillside overlooking a magnificent bay. It also feels poignant to me as my grandfather was born in nearby Mullion, overlooking the same sea.”
You can find Scoop sitting proudly on the open grass at the top of the gardens, in the same field space as Richard Woods’ Holiday Home. The sculpture gardens are open daily, 10.30, 5.30, and you can plan your visit here.