Artist creating focal point in community green space
SCULPTOR Peter Randall-Page is starting work on his first piece of public art in Plymouth which will be tucked away in an inner-city green patch.
The Devon artist – best known for his huge Seed at the Eden Project – has work on show throughout the South West and around the world.
Plymothians can get ready to see plenty of him as the unveiling of the work in Ham Woods later this summer will be followed by his first exhibition in the region for over 20 years.
Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery and the Peninsula Arts Gallery will show new work by Randall-Page from April 2013.
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His often large-scale work is in demand from the UK to Australia, and on show in Uganda, the United States, Japan, South Korea and several European countries. The sculptor admits he wasn't sure about taking the Plymouth job on when a small city project Take A Part, asked if he would be interested in creating less monumental in Ham.
It wasn't the modest size of the job that made him cautious, but the setting and the fact that he already had his hands full.
He was unsure about placing a piece in such a precious patch of greenery.
"It is a very special place," he says. "It's like a bit of countryside in the middle of a built-up area.
"But when I met the local community and Take A Part they really took ownership."
The design all three agreed on reflects the surroundings and fits Randall-Page's style of producing environmentally inspired work that is almost part of the scenery.
The piece will fit like a cove into an area of restored wall along a section of an ancient green path. There will be a stone arch, a bench – hopefully using some wood from an old oak which came down on that spot in a gale – and a tree-like carved form, about 80 cms square, in Dartmoor granite, at the back.
Using natural and resilient materials will ensure that the sculpture lasts and he is just as keen that the work will find that delicate balance between standing out and being accepted.
"I hope it will become a focal point, a meeting place," he says, "something that they will have affection for."
The sculptor is also planning new work for the Plymouth show in 2013.
The Museum and Art Gallery will show mainly drawings, small pieces and maquettes (scale models) from April 27 to June 29.
From April 27 to May 31 the Peninsula Arts Gallery will be given over to the larger-scale pieces for which Randall-Page is better known.
As for the works, whatever form they take he will follow his own principal of "making things that mean something for me; it is a leap of faith that they mean something for other people". The chances of that connection being made are enhanced by working with natural materials.