Sculptor Martyn Grubb launches ‘Fall of Man’ exhibition at Bedales Gallery

Sculptor Martyn Grubb is to launch his latest collections of works ‘Fall of Man’ at Bedales School’s Gallery from 15 April to 4 May. The theme of the Exhibition is inspired by Martyn’s belief that modern man has lost his way, is rudderless and unsure as to how he fits into society. This exhibition showcases his thoughts through an illustration of man’s social and emotional plummet carved into materials including limestone, portland and scottish granite.

Open to all, the exhibition at Bedales, follows a long tradition of support for the visual arts in general with past links with artists and craftspeople of importance in this country (most notable is Julian Trevelyan, Ivon & Simon Hitchens, Stanley Spencer, Francis Bacon, Michael Kidner, Barry Flanagan and Sarah Raphael). Bedales School has been keen to support a sculptor carving in stone on campus.

Martyn’s studio at Bedales School on the Sussex/Hampshire border shows figures on paper and stone that appear as if they are fallen from grace or dropped out of the sky and have landed upended and distorted into a new figurative statement. Mostly his work is about the male form but it is evident from his portrayal of the female figures, (seen in far more genteel repose and sexily curvaceous) that the rage that drives his chisels is not directed at women.

Commenting on the exhibition, Martyn says: “My work is about the fall of man and is meant to be confrontational and provocative, deformed yet unashamedly beautiful. The main motif – falling figures incorporating an abstracted language – hint at this sense of being out of control, and whilst there are clear references to the Icarus myth there is a very palpable feeling of disorientation and impending calamity – concepts which seem particularly apt at this moment in our history. These figurative works mark a divergence from the mainstream diet of organic forms and abstraction towards a more human language once again. There is an overwhelming desire to touch these sculptures which have a tactile and seductive surface, the twisted torsos and broken lower limbs have a powerful presence, drawing you into the drama reminiscent of baroque co-existensive space and form.”

‘Compress/Compact/Crushed’ (Sebastopol limestone, 2012/13) with its scutched finish suggests a brutal and fatal impact whereas ‘Fall’(2012), a small scale work in polished Scottish granite, has a more graceful and elegant association with the Icarus syndrome. Large scale works in Portland challenge our perceptions of a fragmented world view and these are complemented by equally ambitious drawings whose themes hark back to figuration between the wars when Moore and Epstein were imperious and The Vorticists loomed large. One discerns a web of words embedded into the backgrounds hinting at biblical tracts or a verbal diatribe of unsettling obscenities that the self-styled leader of the Italian Futurists, Marinetti, would have found comforting.

There are however pieces which clearly suggest some recalibration of man’s current dilemma Redeemrestorereclaimregainrecoverretrievereviverenewredressresurrectionsalvation’(2013) hewn into the form of a figure breaking free from his bonds references the biblical miracle of Lazarus and Biblical references run through many of his works. Some pieces have a spiritual stillness and yet others seem to wriggle with a twisting awkwardness. As at a freak show, you feel compelled to look.

‘The Fall of Man’ Exhibition will be on display in Bedales Gallery from 15 April until 4 May. Admission is free and the Gallery is open Monday – Friday 2 – 5pm and Saturday 10am – 1pm. For more information please call (01730) 711511 or visit www.bedales.org.uk.

Martyn Grubb

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Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.

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