Alex Wood might be the unholy reincarnation of Heath Robinson, for he sets his wild imagination and crazy obsession with flight into the heaviest of artistic materials: BRONZE.
A silvered paper zeppelin crashes into a bronze tower in R101 (sadly the original British R101 crashed on its maiden flight in 1930 killing almost everyone on board), a bronze hot air balloon cannot take off and lift its wicker basket in We Have lift-off! While in a new work Fly Me to the Moon a rather wrecked 1950’s version of what a rocket should be, looks like it could never lift off either. A larger work that deal with flight or the lack of it Taking Off, looks like it came out of someone’s father-in-law’s garden shed. It is made from what appears to be found timber and bicycle wheels but also has bronze elements just to add a bit more visual and historical weight. A silver model of Concorde is stuck in a mass of bronze in Mach 2, neither the model or the original are going nowhere and his Ferris Wheel is wonderfully mad, a work his spiritual grandfather would have been proud of – ceramic drinking cups are attached to a motorized bicycle wheel and a mouse could easily topple the complex structure.
It is the heady joy of these objects that brings a smile to the face of even the dourest viewer. That so many of his works are translated into such a staid material (bronze) makes the viewer realize how considered, how constructed, how sophisticated they are. For those unfamiliar with the process, bronze casting is a labor of love and the significant word is labor. These works at first look thrown together, jokey, but on inspection we see they are much more complex and they have been hard fought struggles to come into being and that makes the smile grow even a bit wider.
Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art London
‘Celestial’ by Alex Wood is a sculpture where at first you don’t know what to expect. My initial thoughts of the venue comprising a complex of office spaces albeit it very pleasant might limit the imagination. This was certainly not the case with ‘Celestial’ which literally causes the spirits to soar.
I particularly admire the organic quality which is akin to a crumpled Autumn leaf in delicacy but has the fluidity the beautiful bronze patina offers as it rises from the plinth skywards. It works so well in the space because of the relative nearness of the buildings which acts as a backdrop but in observing ‘Celestial’ the eye is drawn along and up into the sky above: perfect.
I would think the office workers nearby benefit greatly from munching on their sandwiches within sight of this lovely uplifting work as well as the public passing through. No doubt visitors to the offices are taken aback by the grace and energy ‘Celestial’ exudes. The flowers have grown around its base and the passages of the day simply caress and shape its colours rather like watching clouds flow across a mountain range.
Elizabeth Grant BA (Hons), MSc (2017)
Creative Intelligence Consultant &
Trustee Director at The Foundation for Essex Arts Ltd
For more information on Celestial please see www.pictonartprize.com