Sculptor and printmaker Ivor Abrahams RA is a leading figure in modern British Art. Eden and Other Suburbs, a retrospective of Abrahams' work, features a wide range of his highly individual, colourful, provocative and humorous sculptures. A strong thread of energy and perception runs through his early bronzes, peopled landscapes and seascapes, architectural collages and oversized bird sculptures. His flocked 'gardens' explore how nature and the artificial coalesce.
Over the past forty-seven years his work has developed and changed, sometimes dramatically. But he has constant themes, returning time and again to urban landscapes, classical figures, gardens, and the sea.
From the outset Abrahams experimented with materials, as well as treating surfaces with colour. In the early 1960s he began to use flock paper over fibreglass and plaster for his garden sculptures. Later he pursued his interest in life drawing, his models being dancers and gymnasts.
In 2000, Abrahams was commissioned to produce a 3 metre Cockerel for the 'Carnaval des Animaux' in The Hague. This announced a beginning to the metamorphosis that has moved his sculpture, over the last 4 years, into the animal world. His collaged structures built from references to the environment in London streets and parks has gradually yielded to a focused and more coherent accent on the amorphous and mysterious presence of owls.
Abrahams acknowledges the paradoxical aspect of traits in these images as omens of good and/or evil. The attributes lent by mythologies extend to our contemporary world of consumerism and expendability. His owls are perched precariously between fear and humour, familiar elements in the artist's work.