Peregrine

2009
Dhustone
180 x 70 x 50 cm
Edition of 1

Like its larger sculptural counterpart Grand Peregrine, this sculpture casts a slender and imposing shadow across the foreground of its surrounding landscape. Peregrine’s form rests uneasily in a relationship of contested tension and yet something within its inert physicality finds a peaceful resolution with the natural setting of the Foundation’s grounds. The dhustone material used to make this sculpture originates from the local mining community’s appropriation of the prefix ‘dhu’, meaning black. The dark and intense hues of the basaltic stone heighten the context and emphasis of the title’s original meaning. Whilst the stone remains a natural material Peregrine’s sculptural form ensures its isolation in terms of its more semiotic origins. The term peregrine can be read as a synonym for alien or foreign and portrays an image of something isolated and out of place but it also has avian connections. Waiting and watching, Cox’s work evokes perfectly the powerful poise of birds of prey. Peregrine looms ominously and stealthily over the viewer subjecting it’s encounter to a question of size and power. Despite its obviously static nature there is a sense of aliveness and character which dominates this sculptural encounter. Perhaps this creature is a chimera, half man half bird, containing the power and potential of both. Perhaps this is homage to a wandering spirit, encapsulating the force and otherness of figures of belief.

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About The Artist

Stephen Cox is perhaps best known for his monolithic sculptures and has worked prolifically in Italy, India and Egypt, implementing native materials to create contemporary formal works that echo with historical and cultural connotations.

Stephen Cox’s work is widely influenced by other cultures. Rooted in Classicism, his early sculptures are related to architecture and archaic fragments and were realised in stone from Italian quarries. In 1986, Cox represented Britain at the Sixth Indian Triennale in New Delhi. He went to Mahabalipuram—a centre for traditional Hindu carving, to make sculpture for the exhibition, and since that time has maintained a studio there. The carvings he made in granite from the ancient quarries of nearby Kanchipuram had a great bearing on his work over the next decade.

In 1988, he was commissioned to carve sculpture for the new Cairo Opera House, Egypt, and was allowed to quarry Imperial porphyry at Mons Porphyrytes in the Eastern Desert, which had not been used since the end of the Roman Empire. This led to new developments in his imagery, such as references to the human torso. In varying his treatment of the rich red and green stones, Cox developed his sculpture towards a more abstract state. In 1993, he completed a commission for the parish church of St Paul, Harringay, using Italian and Egyptian stones. His most recent work in Egypt was centred on the Kephren quarries in the Western Desert of southern Egypt.

‘Peregrine’ is currently on display

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Visiting Information

Stephen Cox

Born: 1946

Other Artworks by Stephen Cox at CASS

2005

Lingam of a Thousand Lingams

The way in which the subject of sex and gender is addressed in religion interests Cox and Lingam of a Thousand Lingams i…

2009

Grand Peregrine

Stephen Cox’s work plumbs the depths of history through his use of traditional materials and sculptural techniques. Carv…

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