Exhibiting an expansive body of previously unseen works, this show reveals the rigour, dedication and experimentation of a secretive and devotional practitioner. Focusing on the human form and in particular the head, Lumley’s work uses his expertise as a blacksmith to push the limitations of solid metal bar, using metal like clay, affording a fluidity and organic form which reveals the alchemy of his practice. Other pieces compile off cuts of metal which are shaped, welded and ground using similar processes to those employed for furniture making.
Lumley’s oeuvre extends to sconces, candelabra and outside architectural pieces, treading the boundary between the decorative, the purpose-led and the purely artistic object. Though initially resistant to creating figurative works, his process led practice naturally arrived at figuration as he allowed the metal to move and morph and reveal its form to him. Each piece is guided by the inherent diversity of the material and is neither planned nor controlled as if the artist is surrendering to his medium.
With visual references ranging from Michael Angelo and Rodin to indigenous representations of gods from international ancient cultures, Lumley’s work appears to channel an archetypal relationship with deities, drawn from intuition and guided by the material. The process of secretively forming a world of timeless spiritual representations may be connected to the artists own experiences of wavering mortality and loss and a near death incident aged 27.
Lumley was raised a Catholic, educated in a Benedictine Monastery school and went on to study Medieval History and Archeology before becoming a furniture maker and artist. Searching for spirituality outside of Catholicism his work is distinctly non-religious but inevitably influenced by the aesthetic of iconography.
Mark Lumley’s work has been featured in The World of Interiors, The Telegraph, House & Gardens, Veranda and Architectural Digest. His exhibition ‘Communing With The Ancients’ presents a selection of 50 works exemplifying the diversity and rigour of his practice.