Suffolk-based Brian Alabaster MRSS is one of the country’s leading figurative sculptors. His work, produced mainly in bronze, comprises portraiture – particularly of children – as well as natural life and objects. All of his sculptures are modelled from life. Finished pieces are to be found in private and public collections.
Brian finds his inspiration from a variety of sources: the countryside, natural rock or fossil formations and ancient classic ceramics. But it is his love of the human form that has produced, and continues to inform, his most favoured and most collected works. A father of three sons, the earliest of his sculptures featured his own children, and these have remained constant favourites both of the artist and his audience.
Brian undertakes every stage of production himself, from modelling the clay maquettes to the final casting in molten metal.
The pieces on show in the Cotswold Sculpture park have been completed recently. They both rely on my carrying out the casting process myself, as much of the final work is done in my foundry. I like to leave some marks and evidence of all these processes showing in the finished work. Marks and changes are made at every stage and a deliberate decision is made to keep some evidence of this. I am trying to get some feel in the bronze of the living moving vital body. This body of work is made out my desire to represent the human form and say something more than I can achieve in my more figurative work. Both pieces are shown as numbered editions of six however all will differ slightly one from another.
The standing figure of Honor in bronze was inspired by a renaissance painting that I saw many years ago. I have been interested in the effect different treatment of cloth and clothing has on out response to a work. Wrapping of women’s bodies might be associated with control but has also been used in portrayals of female warriors. Also I wanted to contrast the defiant assertive powerful stance and gaze of the model with her deliberately revealing one breast. The balance of power between subject and audience is something I am playing with here.
The large head in bronze was completed in the autumn using as inspiration my regular life model Gee. This was following up on a series of drawings and smaller maquettes. I have made larger than life pieces for public sculpture but this is the first time I have made a head at four times life size.
For more information, visit www.brian-alabaster.com.