…At the Galleries
WEEKEND HERALD, Saturday 29 October 2016
For many years now, Terry Stringer has been the go-to sculptor for distinguished public statues, trophies, medallions and memorials and his work, mostly cast in bronze, is consistently successful. This graceful and elegant consistency is the mark of his show at ARTIS Gallery.
One of the works, Prestidigitation, which refers to conjuring and wizardry, is also indicated in the title of the show, Model with the Sculptor’s Hands. Each sculpture contains two images: an expressive head and the fingers of Stringer’s hands, both moulded together.
This combination of several images in one work has become something of his trademark. His The World Grasped, in Newmarket, contains four images within one substantial bronze pillar.
At ARTIS, the works are mostly statuettes although That Certain Smile, which typifies the tone and charm of the show, is shown by the original maquette and a large version, nearly three metres high, that stands outside the gallery.
The smaller works are generally the heads of women or boys and though the hand remains natural, the face is often cut with sharp cubist angles to add energy to the sculptural form.
These small works are both inventive and delightful; the two versions of the McCahon Triptych are rather more ambitious sculptures. The hand becomes three separate fingers; on the foremost one are the nose and stern mouth of the artist while the two fingers further back contain his deep, thoughtful eyes. The whole becomes a face only when seen directly from the front. Yet, especially in its largest form, the division into three parts reads as more eccentric than monumental despite the size of the fingers.
Another work, Memory Monument, has a similar open form. Both are stretching the original idea and not so immediately attractive beside the mature accomplishment of the figures that are one curving, svelte shape.