Rebecca Appleby: Selected works, 2019-2020
Recently my sculpture has echoed autobiographical events. As a direct result the work has taken a new conceptual, visual and aesthetic direction.
I am interested in the process of destruction of things, then their re-birth – a continuous cycle. In nature, but also destruction because of the presence of man. Destruction of buildings, tragedies of war, ruination and then transformation into something different. Change through unpredictable natural disasters. The aesthetics of destruction and deterioration, but with potential for rebirth.
Latest sculptures are constructed using slabs of clay draped over an internal steel structure, pieced & stitched together. Breaking many of the rules of ceramic construction, the steel substrates are used intentionally to encourage the clay to crack & experience trauma. The sculptures are altered and re-imagined through the process of firing. The change that they undergo echoes a phenomenon known in architecture as ‘concrete cancer’, when a steel reinforcement starts to rust and expand, displacing the surrounding concrete, whilst the disfiguration, broken edges & patina are suggestive of the human body experiencing injury, ageing and decay.
I am currently working on a body of work that magnifies fundamental structure, creating sculptures that combine colourful, textural & amorphous form. Architectural fragment, archaeological specimen, organic matter, human organ or symbolic, visceral expression, these new works encompass characteristics of physical, psychological and mystical worlds.
My approach to all work lies in the notion that art is a reflection of life.
The reference to organic matter in these sculptures speaks to this concept, as particular organisms symbolize the circle of life, growth, and change.
Whilst my previous collections of work have been linked with disease and death, I view this particular subject choice as a celebration of life rather than morbidity.