Sun's Roots II

2008
Painted steel
400 x 560 x 220 cm
Edition of 3

Sun’s Roots II is another work of King’s that returns to his early works formal concern with the use of bold colour to define space and the cone as a grounding element. This is not the first work in which King physically connects the sun to the ground. However, its title indicates the importance of this gesture to the artist.

King spent a great deal of time in Japan working in a ceramics studio, and Japanese mythology was influential to King’s production of this work. In the Shinto religion, Amaterasu is considered to be the sun goddess. In protest at her brother’s drunken rampage during which he trampled her rice fields, Amaterasu filled her irrigation ditches and threw excrement at her palaces and shrines, before shutting herself into a cave. This meant that there was no sun and everything in the world began to wither and die, revealing the essential connection between the sun and the earth. A connection formally reproduced by King in Sun’s Roots II.

This work also refers to Jimmu, the first emperor of Japan who was considered to be a descendant of Amaterasu, but also the origin of Japan’s modern history. The characters that make up Japan’s name mean ‘sun origin’ and the country is often referred to as the ‘land of the rising sun.’ Sun’s Roots II exemplifies how King’s early formal concerns have combined with an interest in figuration in his later work.

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About The Artist

Phillip King’s early works of the fifties were generally small and made in clay and plaster, they were described as being of a robust Brutalist and Surrealist nature. In 1962, he started to use fibreglass and colour, and seminal works such as ‘Rosebud’, ‘Genghis Khan’ and ‘Twilight’ brought King’s work to the attention of the art world in 1963. These gave way to large and small–scale abstract sculpture, which often combined various materials. In the late eighties, King turned to a more figurative way of working, before moving on to make large–scale ceramic vessels using a rough mix of clay and newspaper. During the nineties, King spent long periods working in Japan, learning to make ceramics on a very large scale. In later years, he returned to using colour in his work, covering solid forms with dry pigments and allowing them to drift, making free–formed shapes. Over the course of his career King has worked in a variety of different media including ceramic, steel, plaster, wood and, plastics and PVC. King's larger constructivist forms have incorporated a sophisticated and highly personal use of colour and a poetic, even lyrical, use of form that belie their materials.

‘Sun's Roots II’ is currently on display

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Phillip King

Born: 1934

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2007

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