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By IH Monday 07 January 2013 Updated: 11/01 08:06
THE FIRST retrospective exhibition of the work of artist John Bridgeman can be seen at Leamington Art Gallery and Museum in the new year.
Landscape to Sculpture: John Bridgeman (1916 – 2004), which runs from January 25 to April 21, will include sculptures, drawings, maquettes and paintings by the artist who lived in and around Leamington for over 40 years, and who was Head of Sculpture at Birmingham School of Art from 1955 to 1981.
Although he trained as a landscape painter, Bridgeman became fascinated by sculpture and in the 1940s, while studying at the Royal College of Art, his work was admired by the already well-established sculptor Henry Moore. Moore invited Bridgeman to become his studio assistant, but the offer was rejected as Bridgeman was determined to pursue an independent career.
During the Second World War, while working in the Civil Service’s Heavy Rescue Service, he started work on his Torture Wall, an installation made up of approximately 20 cast bronze figures.
The exhibition will include a construction of this work, which he continued to work on throughout his career, but which has never before been publicly displayed. The exhibition will be accompanied by a substantial catalogue and a facsimile reproduction of an unpublished series of illustrated verses produced by Bridgeman with his wife, the writer and poet Irene Dancyger, who worked for many years as editor of the Woman’s Page at the Leamington Courier. Bridgeman provided a series of vibrant illustrations for Dancyger’s verses about a series of imaginary creatures.
And for the first time an exhibition at the Pump Rooms gallery will be complemented by a new public work by Birmingham-based artists Simon and Tom Bloor, created for the Pump Room Gardens.
Design for Pleasure was inspired by the John Bridgeman’s large scale 'play sculptures' commissioned by Oldbury Borough Council and Birmingham City Council and installed in playgrounds through the West Midlands in the 1960s. The Bloor’s new work is a functional sculpture offering the generation who first enjoyed Bridgeman's play sculptures a place to stop, sit and talk with each other, their children and their grandchildren.
The exhibition has been curated by Senior Curatorial Officer Dr Chloe Johnson who has worked closely with the artist’s daughter Dr Jane Bridgeman and her husband, Professor M A Michael. They will introduce the exhibition on Friday January 25, during a free Friday Focus lunchtime talk from 1pm.
Admission to the exhibition is free.
Visit www.warwickdc.gov.uk/royalpumprooms for further details.
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