Summer is just around the corner, and what better way to escape the heat than in our bright and airy building with some feel-good art? Not only do we have refreshing drinks and yummy cakes in our Café, but our summer programme is also filled with stunning exhibitions, associated talks and tours and fun artsy workshops. We won’t give away too much, but we’ve put together a few highlights from what’s on this summer.

Looking into twentieth century British sculptors’ artistic practices, Parallel Lines: Drawing and Sculpture seeks to underline and examine how drawing and sculpture intertwine, the former often acting as a preparatory process for the latter. By creating drawings which are direct responses to the works from The Ingram Collection, Royal Society of Sculptors artists have deconstructed this process bringing the two mediums together to draw parallels between the transformative aspects of both.

There are nearly eighty works by members of the Society currently on display in the Main Gallery, along ten modern sculptures from The Ingram Collection which served as inspiration.
Here’s a selection of our personal favourites:

1. Michael Petry, Blue Ensō, 2019 in response to Michael Ayton, Maze Music, 1972

Blue Ensō by Michael Petry on display in the Main Gallery

Ensō (the circle) is a character used in Japanese and Chinese calligraphy to symbolize a moment when the mind is free to let the body create. Petry’s work is striking in its simplicity and deep blue colour. The rhythmic movement which radiates from the piece makes the connection between it and Ayton’s 'Maze Music', but whereas Ayton’s figure seems suspended in a tense, life-defining moment, Petry’s work invites towards reflection and peace of mind.

2. Silke Dettmers, The Possible and the Impossible I & II, 2019 in response to George Pickard, Watchtower, 1965

Pictured in the middle row: The Possible and the Impossible I & II by Silke Dettmers

When discussing the motifs behind her work, Dettmers recalls that ‘there were real watchtowers in my childhood, the watchtowers on the border to the GDR - from which a totalitarian state ensured its borders remained impenetrable- as well as the unnumbered hunting high seats concealed in the forests of Central Europe.’ While she remains aware of the function attributed to these structures, she is also interested in dismantling the threat they pose by playing around with the architectural features that set them apart.

3. Lynn Chadwick, Bird IX, 1959

Lynn Chadwick (1914-2003) Bird IX, 1959 Bronze with a green-blue patina © The Estate of Lynn Chadwick

Chadwick said that art is 'the manifestation of some vital force coming from the dark, caught by the imagination and translated by the artist’s ability and skill'. His method is considered unique in his choice not to sketch the sculpture beforehand, preferring instead to improvise and weld metal without a specific plan in place. Despite the specific reference, in the title, to the natural world, this work directly reflects on industry and technology, its resemblance to a simplified airplane form playing with the connection between the animal and the artificial.

4. Gary Colclough, Fracture, 2019 in response to five different sculptures on display

Work in progress: Gary Colclough drawing his site-specific installation

The site-specific installation explores the relationship between drawing, sculpture and line. Arranged around the drawings are lengths of teak, which are intended to function as fragmented or partial frames. This draws on one of Colclough’s ongoing preoccupations, about using the materials of display: frames, plinths and supports and making them integral to the work. In this piece the wooden lines form another drawing, a diagrammatic constellation that links the watercolour drawings together.

5. Geoffrey Clarke, Man, 1951

Geoffrey Clarke (1924-2014), Man, 1951 Iron and Stone © The Estate of Geoffrey Clarke, Pangolin London

The figure was made in a studio situated behind the Imperial College in South Kensington, using forging, oxyacetylene cutting and welding. It is a counterpart of another welded steel sculpture named 'Woman', created a couple of years apart. Common to both are prominent rib cages and raised arms. 'Man' has a spikier rib cage and a protective skirt of metal elements. This piece is as unique as it is fragile and for this reason it does not go out on loans to other institutions anymore. In other words, if you want to enjoy this sculpture you must visit us!

This exhibition is inspired by the practical and intellectual connections that continue to bridge the gap between drawing and sculpture, bringing the two art forms closer together. Parallel Lines: Drawing and Sculpture is on display until 25 August.

To find out more about works in the show and how it was curated join us for our Parallel Lines Exclusive Behind-the-Scenes Tour on Wed 3 July from 9.45am.