AboutThis year's exhibition at Burghley Sculpture Garden explores the theme of âprocess' and sculptural techniques of production including carving, casting, construction, laser cutting, sewing and weaving. The latter is exemplified by Laura Ellen Bacon, who weaves and knots magical spells in three dimensions. At Burghley, she has woven a giant electric blue web into a weeping beech. The process of weaving is also central to Rachel Carter's architectural sculpture Willow Henge; composed of twisting conical arches, it invites visitors to walk through its vaulted interior.
John's Tractor confirms how a singular making process can result in a multifaceted work. By directly casting one of Burghley's tractors in resin-soaked canvas, the sculptor Michael Coombs has created an ambiguity of contradictions; seemingly soft, but actually hard; apparently solid, but actually hollow; ostensibly present, but actually absent. Moving around the tarpaulin covered sculpture reveals the surprising absence of any tractor within and the sculpture's inner void.
The show continues with sculptures that explore broader interpretations of the theme including processes such as evolution, erosion, chemical reactions and metamorphosis. Artists include Ann-Marie James, who has released a swarm of plaster butterflies that allude to the consequences of chaos theory. Other pieces refer to nature's cyclical processes and man's intervention in them. One such sculpture is Claudia Borgna's A Dirty Dozen, which juxtaposes the lush banks of the stream and its jungle-like foliage of bamboo, gunnera and false rhubarb with twelve plastic flowers, each wrapped in florist's cellophane. The life cycle of fauna is also central to Fall and Rise by Anna Gillespie. Her iconic effigy to Gaia is suspended in a beech tree and was constructed from the tree's fallen beech nut husks, which the artist had previously harvested at Burghley. A final autobiographical approach is represented by Paul Cox's Sea Saw; a witty sculpture made in response to an unsuccessful sailing trip by a self confessed landlubber. It features a small bronze boat sailing precariously on the serrated and undulating blade of a giant saw, and its title completes the process of reflection in a humorous fashion.
Overall, the exhibition reveals how process can play a pivotal role in shaping the appearance, meaning and sensibilities of sculpture in the round; both from a formal perspective and also in terms of its conception. All achieved through a dynamic and exciting range of sculptures that befit the wondrous flora and arboretum of Capability Brown's gardens.