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Sculptor Paul Smith’s Hugable Animals

July 9, 2014

I recently came across the work of sculptor Paul Smith who’s studio is based on the edge of the Peak District National Park. I really like the friendly relationship his figures portray in joining the worlds of the human and the animal.

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Paul says ” In my work I play with the conventions of fairytales and fables, often turning the stories on their heads and twisting them. Goldilocks has made peace with the bears and Red Riding Hood has grown up to be a confident femme fatale who entrances the Wolf. There are many ‘first-nation’ stories of a time when beasts could talk and the world was one, not divided into the human/animal worlds. “

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” I am interested in our perception of the animal kingdom, told through fairytale and fable, art, books and film, rather than realistic depiction. A big influence on my work has been Angela Carter who wrote several short stories and novels on the theme of fairytales, “The Company of Wolves” and “The Bloody Chamber” being among the most famous. She tells tales of transformation, wonder and strangeness but, however dark the stories are, there is, more often than not, a redemptive ending. I use children’s stories as the vehicle to explore, in terms of adult-oriented concerns, the universal themes raised; love and jealousy, duplicity and trust. “

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” My work is solidly rooted in the figurative tradition. Of all the artists of the past I particularly admire the work of Elie Nadelman. A Polish-born sculptor working in the earlier part of the last century, he was innovative in his wonderful sense of fluid line and form, influenced by American folk art. ” 

I really like Paul’s sense of strong line and slight nod to folk art sculptures too.

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It’s not until you see the sculptures in situ, that you really get a sense of their scale… wow. Paul will be exhibiting some work at Potfest in the Park July 25th – 27th in Cumbria, see the link for more details.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. Sharon Irving permalink
    July 9, 2014 7:37 am

    those sculptures are just so wonderful, I need to own one – better start saving up 🙂

    • July 9, 2014 7:50 am

      Paul does do smaller versions too Sharon, so all is not lost : )

  2. July 9, 2014 10:09 am

    I love the rabbits towards the end of your post, very sweet – dancing, ears up and ears down!! X

    • July 9, 2014 11:06 am

      Thanks Lizzie, they remind me of Inuit carvings that i’ve seen of polar bears etc. Lovely feel to their shapes and textures.

      • July 10, 2014 10:04 pm

        I’m not familiar with Inuit artwork but anything that is good to look at and tactile is good with me!

      • July 11, 2014 5:52 am

        This will give you some idea http://tinyurl.com/oc4h38e and if you like dancing animals there’s a few in the mix too : )

      • July 11, 2014 10:41 pm

        Wow, I had no idea Inuit art and sculpture was so contemporary in style – its right up my street and I love the polar bear sculptures. Have you ever done a post on Inuit artwork – I think it would be very interesting. Just a thunk! X

      • July 12, 2014 7:00 am

        I have thunked it before and covered this lady’s beautiful work. https://fishinkblog.wordpress.com/2011/04/08/kenojuak-ashevak-inuit-artist/ Maybe one for the future when I have the time to digest and research a little more.

      • July 15, 2014 11:11 pm

        Beautiful! Keep the artwork coming as its great to expand our knowledge of what’s out there! xxx

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