AboutThis summer the New Art Centre shall show in the park a selection of large-scale bronzes by internationally renowned artist Barry Flanagan. These works, which date from the mid 1980s to the present, shall be accompanied by smaller sculptures by the artist that are to be placed in the gallery. Of particular interest shall be prints and drawings, selected from the artist's studio, which shall be on display in the artists' house as well as early ceramics that have rarely been exhibited.
Flanagan's oeuvre has been characterised by an almost inexhaustible inventiveness that has led the artist to continually challenge the very nature and material of form and its medium. Inherent in his work has always been a great energy, a boundless sense of imagination and a humour, playful but astute.
Flanagan is best known for his dynamic, often monumental, bronze hares, which he began casting in 1979. The New Art Centre already shows 30ft Acrobats which, like the hares that have been exhibited in other outdoor spaces such as Park Avenue, New York and Grant Part, Chicago, has succeeded in captivating scores of visitors to the park. These figures, lean and animated by gestures not quite belonging to animal form, have a resonance with viewers that is physiological and psychological and also, simply joyous. As Michael Compton wrote in his 1983 essay on Flanagan, 'I do not think that the postwar period has produced anything to beat them for exuberant vitality. These are the hares that have beaten the tortoise, the anvil and the stumps.'
Flanagan represented Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1982. A major retrospective of his work was held at the Fundacion 'La Caixa' Madrid in 1993, touring to the Musee des Beaux-Arts, Nantes in 1994. In 1999, he had a solo exhibition at Galerie Xavier Hufkens in Brussels followed by an exhibition at the Tate Gallery, Liverpool (2000). In 2002, a major exhibition of his work was shown at the Kunsthalle Recklinghausen, Germany, and toured to the Musee d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain, Nice. In 2006 he had a large retrospective at Irish Museum of Modern Art.
Flanagan's work is held in public collections worldwide including MOMA New York, the Royal Academy of Arts in London, and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. He is represented by Waddington Galleries and Galerie Lelong.