Passages and Circumstances

1997
Fox hill granite
300 x 410 x 380 cm
Edition of 1

Jon Isherwood regards carving in stone as the most direct route to the essential qualities of sculpture. Isherwood’s choice of title Passages and Circumstances is suggestive of the multiple ways of observing and contemplating the two sets of standing stones and their thoroughfares. Granite, one of the oldest rocks on earth, brings with it a history that interests Isherwood. This particular stone, is a grey colour that verges on black and in places coloured red through the presence of iron oxide. He felt that the two imposing blocks he chose for this work held new possibilities for sculpture and spent a long time familiarising himself with the stones and their final orientation. The form grew organically from the qualities inherent in the stone; their colour, the quarry–men’s marks, the surface that had resulted from an industrial rather than artistic process.

The first cuts made by Isherwood involved removing a central core from each block. He then decided which forms should be opened up so that the viewer could pass through, and which would be simply left visible. He allowed the qualities of the stones—natural flaws, the grain and the surface marks—to indicate where he might introduce apertures and carvings. Passages and Circumstances is a sculpture that you can physically pass through resulting in a sculpture whereby you can experience being surrounded, affected and controlled by the sculpture.

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About The Artist

Jon Isherwood took to working in stone in the early 1990s, having become dissatisfied with concrete and metal and the processes of casting. The use of stone brought new possibilities for Isherwood as he began to explore its interior qualities as well as the range of potential for outer forms. In getting to know his chosen medium, Isherwood made sculptures that had several rough sections, as the stone came directly from the quarry. He experimented with different finishes: smoothing, polishing, chiselling, colouring and introducing water to some pieces. The possibilities inherent in stone are, for him, many and varied. Isherwood’s sculptures are reminiscent of totemic and monumental stone architecture from ancient civilisations. Their lasting rigid stoicism is surprisingly refreshing in our time of ephemeral, fleeting immaterial momentariness, escalated by our ever-expanding digital age.

‘Passages and Circumstances’ is currently on display

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Jon Isherwood

Born: 1960

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