As spring starts to ponderously wander our way, the lighter days and better weather offer more opportunities to get out and see the sculptures all around us.
Museums and galleries provide the venue to study and consume carefully selected collections of pieces, but inevitably there is an air of somber silence enveloped by seriousness and restraint. Galleries have their place (indeed, I have been fortunate enough to have displayed in them) and they do offer an avenue into enjoying art, but for a fuller experience, I would suggest go outdoors.
Sculpture parks and trails are a wonderful opportunity to see diverse ranges of works in often dramatic situations whilst enjoying the best sculptor of them all – nature. There are examples in this blog of single pieces around the country, but possibly the best collection “under one roof” (well, some 500 acres of parkland) is the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
What this and other parks offer is unique, the ability to not only study, learn, ponder and form opinion (on your own or with guides in written and oral form if requested), but that rare ability in the art world, and that is to touch. This can make all the difference in understanding a piece, the texture, surface temperature – these tangible sensations add immeasurably to the experience.
I have a habit of trying to find pieces if I know I’m going to a part of the country I’ve not been to before, simple internet searches continually yield useful results – without this habit, I would have missed the “Singing Tree” in Burnley Lancashire, or the “AnotherPlace” work (Antony Gormley) along with countless other single and multiple installations. Check out thePublicMonuments and Sculpture Association website for a whole host of parks and trails worth a visit throughout the forthcoming summer.
Finally, for those of us who still prefer a good old fashioned book, try the informative “Sculpture Parks and Trails of England” (Alison Stace)
– an excellent starting point when planning a day out.
……and if it’s an excuse you need, collect that bargain you bought on ebay instead of having it delivered, you’ll be surprised what lurks out there to amaze you….