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Sculpture is now widely collected across the UK, and an increasing number of contemporary artists are now producing some exciting and innovative work in three dimensions. In the midst of this trend, certain individuals stand out from the field, and one such figure is the hugely talented British sculptor Jennine Parker. The stories behind Jennine’s arresting bronze figures are firmly rooted in her own life; for her, sculpture is not a new departure, but relates back to her childhood; it has given her the freedom to express her personal experience as she explains:
From the age of 7 to 21 dance and Gymnastics were an important part of my life, and I believe that this fact has played a huge role in my work. These activities provide a way for the human body to express its energy through graceful or interesting curves and lines, creating movement and shape. In much the same way, my sculpture expresses movement, shape and texture - the female form imaginatively evoked through curves and shapes.
Many of my ideas seem to materialise from nowhere, yet I know the seeds are sown (and worked on subconsciously) by experiences I encounter daily, people I meet or places I visit, indeed from all aspects of the world around me from past and present. Inspiration from natural weathered erosion for instance offers a contrasting juxtaposition of smooth to textured surfaces, encouraging sensitivity to texture and form. Interesting shapes and lines are created in the natural world wherever you look and from every angle.
A key influence throughout my life has been one of the twentieth century’s greatest artists, Alberto Giacometti; his stunning pieces convey immense energy and a truly radiant presence, I also get great joy from Rodin, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Peter Hayes to name but a few. All of these artists have given us their own unique interpretation of the figure in a way that has spoken to us and left their stamp on the world of figurative sculpture. Following in their footsteps has inspired me to work, as they did, towards a genuine personal statement in my work.
My passion is the human form, and I like to do as much life drawing as possible. While this is arguably the most challenging process that I have encountered as an artist, it encourages strong observation and is the foundation to the structure of my work. When sculpting I try to capture the living world, to communicate life, movement and personality by recreating the lines and shapes of the human figure. I hope this approach helps the viewer to empathise with my work, bringing their own stories and memories to life.
I see shapes in everything around me, from patterns in knotted wood to shapes that inanimate objects make. I take lots of photographs of weathered stones and walls which can inspire the textured finish to a piece of my work . My affinity is with clay and this is the main material I like to work with, but depending on the type of sculpture I want to produce, sometimes this necessitates me working in wax or plaster, using and experimenting with different materials changes the look and dynamics of my work.
I generally hand build each piece using a wet clay or an oil based clay depending on the final result I want to achieve. I usually work with a block of clay that I carve into. However, when using oil based clay, I create a wire frame to give me the flexibility to end into the desired shape. I build the sculpture onto the frame from tiny pieces of clay, smoothing over as the layers build up. I add detail and adjust the shape as I go along. Once the piece is completed, it is sent off to the foundry where they then produce the piece in Bronze (using a lost wax process). This results in a wonderful transition from clay to bronze which is the final evolution of the creative process.