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 Nova by Anne Bevan, Photo by Michael Wolchover. (source

On my search for my next Artist of the Month, I’ve known that the marine life and exploration of it in the underwater sculptures of spectacular Jason DeCaires Taylor  is a theme I want to get back to. What I didn’t know, was that connection with the sea will come so soon in my next artist! As it normally happens, I tend to come across my Artist of the Month on my walks in London. I was passing Royal British Sculptors Society; I’ve never visited their exhibitions before, but always wanted to. My eye caught a flyer outside. Round looking, texturized object seemed irresistible to me. I made a note in my diary, with a name. It was Edinburgh based  Anne Bevan and her Ghost. 

Building of Royal British Society of Sculptors, South Kensington, London. (Source their website)

I entered the exhibition space of RBS in South Kensington. Things Unspoken (Thu, 24/05/2012 – Fri, 13/07/2012, 12 noon – 17.30) is the exhibition of two artists Andrea Roe and Anne Bevan, curated by Jane Warrilow. Both artists have presented their ideas in separate ways.  Andrea Roe’s work examines the nature of human and animal biology, behaviour, communication and interaction within specific ecological contexts and Anne Bevan’s work has often been concerned with water, the sea, and the idea of ‘making the invisible visible’. I was amazed by Bevan’s works, which seems to speak to me, that’s why I focus on her today! Originality of her ideas has been refreshing and inspiring. All works in Things Unspoken are presented immaculately and I strongly recommend you see the show running until 13/07/2012. Call the gallery for more T:+44 (0)20 7373 8615 or visit their website. I talked to Anne Bevan on Skype about her work and processes.

Artist Anne Bevan.

She is a cheerful, enthusiastic, and easy to talk to person. Anne Bevan is originally from Orkney where she continues to have strong links. She is based in Edinburgh and is a lecturer in the School of Sculpture at Edinburgh College of Art. Bevan is artistically exploring hidden or invisible aspects of the environment, environmental themes (as inseparable part of everyday life), either under the ground, in the water or on the tidal edge through mediums of sculpture, video installations and photography. She told me she is interested in prototypes and models, metamorphoses of the natural movement, experiments with the textures and surfaces, explorations of new and undiscovered life, or the one which has been forgotten.

I’ll start with her work in Things Unspoken exhibition, Ghost – 3D enlarged acrylic print of planktonic foraminifer, which was made using a CT scan. It’s a single-celled organism, which forms part of the marine zoo-plankton. These can be found deep in the sea, in the sand and sedimentary rocks, as its particles. I learnt that Bevan has been able to 3D scan this particle with some help of the scientists at the University of Edinburgh. She also worked with 3D plaster and clay models of these organisms, accessing research collections of the Natural History Museum in London. From her experience, as she told me, working with the Museums and scientists is incredibly helpful, as the research centres are more than happy to assist. She finds exchange of interdisciplinary ideas and elements in collaborations very rewarding and challenging.

 Ghost by Anne Bevan, Ian Butler. Photo by Michael Wolchover.

Bevan is in my mind a queen of collaboration. She doesn’t so much focus on working with other artists, but works with above mentioned scientists (Dr Kate Darling), engineers, designers, furniture makers, writers (Janice Galloway), musicians and performer artists, scientific glass blowers and so on. She loves to use different kinds of materials, and collaborating with the wide range of professionals helps her to bring out the full potential of those to perfection. It’s about a dialog between the people, as Bevan sees it.

Moon Pool by Anne Bevan, photo by Michael Wolchover.

Moon Pool (2 m diametre) is another Anne Bevan’s work I’m fascinated by! This public artwork was commission in Tyrebagger Forest, Abendeershire, Scotland, 2002. The ‘pool’ is surrounded by lines of poetry from the writer Janice Galloway, which from a distance, merge to form a water mark or tide line.

 Moon Pool (detail) by Anne Bevan, photo by Michael Wolchover.

Process: Anne Bevan tried to make cast of water and the waves. This rather challenging thought has developed, as the best way to do this was by casting the sand directly, which is an imprint, mark of the water in many ways! I just love the originality of approaching this process! Bevan told me, that when they were trying to cast the sand, firstly by using plaster (in four pieces), the conditions had to be perfect. The low tide, the wind,  it all took some time to settle and shape and finally was just right for the process to begin. I couldn’t resist asking for a photograph, when she told me that at the end of the casting, the weather has taken a bad turn, and big storm and lightening with thunder arrived! Imagine how exciting it must have been! After a few stages of casting process were finished, finally the bronze sculpture was made and positioned in the forest. I’d love to see this work in its own natural setting. Meanwhile, have a look at the photos…

Anne Bevan and her helpers casting the sand in plaster for Moon Pool, caught in the dark storm and flashes of lightning in the sky. The cast is in four pieces. 

Undercover (2000) was her solo exhibition at The Fruit Market Gallery in Edinburgh. The project that at first jumped out from the other works for me with its intensity of the objects’ blue colour. However, more I asked about it, more I realized I love it not only visually, but conceptually as well. I asked Anne Bevan, what are those blue wooden looking objects on top of wooden stands? To my surprize, they were jesmonite casts of old wooden water pipes! The whole Undercover project is about themes of water and where it comes from, water something we all probably take for granted is full of secrets. The new plastic water pipes these days come in blue, hence the choice of the colour for the art-works. Did you know all water pipes used to be made out of wood in pre-Victorian times?

Uncovered pipes by Anne Bevan, Photo by Michael Wolchover.

Listen to  my monthly slot featured as a part of Rosemary Laryea‘s  Art and Culture Show on Colourful Radio on Thursday, 28th June 2012 at 12.10pm, where I will introduce the amazing work of Anne Bevan and find out even more.

If you miss it, don’t worry,  now you can listen to it again here:

Thanks for reading and listening. If you’re interested, don’t hesitate to visit the included links to explore further. Have a good day!


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