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'There is life in this autumn breeze' A Sculpture in Context.

Today marks the opening of Sculpture in Context 2021.

Sculpture in Context is a pivotal event in the Irish arts calendar and as the longest running, largest and most important sculpture exhibition in the country, the annual exhibition attracts a large public and critical audience and is the cultural highlight of the National Botanic Gardens calendar. This year Sculpture in Context celebrates 35 years exhibiting and promoting sculpture in Ireland.

Bringing together the work of over 140 artists using an incredible range of media, these works of art represent the richly diverse character of Irish and International contemporary sculpture today. From the smallest, most intricate ceramic works to stone sculptures of a monumental scale, visitors to the exhibition will be enriched by the experience of viewing such inspiring works in one location.

The artistic integrity and technical skill involved in creating the works is evident throughout and highlights the breadth and depth of artistic talent and skill in Ireland today.

Sculpture receives a spectacular presentation in the National Botanic Gardens and throughout the 50 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds you will discover sculpture in the most unexpected and surprising places.

'There is life in this autumn breeze'

My contribution to this years exhibition is this stone monolith titled 'There is life in this autumn breeze'

Medium: Carved Stone / Gemstone & Mirror mosaic

Title: ‘There is life in this autumn breeze’

Dimensions: 170cm H X 40cm W

Carved into a monolith of Irish Liscannor Sandstone, this piece represents Anemochory.

Anemochory is defined as seed dispersal by wind.

The wind and sky are represented by mirror and a blue semiprecious gemstone known as Lapis Lazuli. Danieline seed heads are carved into the stone as well as being depicted with in the mirror mosaic. Pyrite (fools gold) cubes infill the center of a relief carving of the sun in the top left corner. The sun playing a vital role in the life of a seed.

This sculpture is best placed outdoors in a garden setting were the mirror mosaic really comes to life and constantly changes appearance due to the ever-changing reflections. Outdoors it can also pick up reflections of the sky and surroundings. Sunlight also enhances the great natural textures of the stone.

About Lapis lazuli Gemstones:

The blue robes of the Virgin Mary by Masaccio (1426) were painted with ultramarine.

Lapis lazuli, is a deep-blue metamorphic rock used as a semi-precious stone that has been prized since antiquity for its intense color. In the Middle Ages, it was ground into powder and made into ultramarine, the finest and most expensive of all blue pigments, in fact the pigment was considered more precious than gold. It was used by some of the most important artists of the Renaissance and Baroque, including Masaccio, Perugino, Titian and Vermeer, and due to its precious nature, it was often reserved for the clothing of the central figures of their paintings, especially the Virgin Mary.

It remained an extremely expensive pigment until a synthetic ultramarine was invented in 1826. Two years earlier the Societé d’Encouragement offered a reward of six thousand francs to anyone who could develop a synthetic alternative to ultramarine.

Two men came forward within several weeks of one another: Jean-Baptiste Guimet, a French chemist, and Christian Gmelin, a German professor from the University of Tübingen. The prize was fiercely contested. Gmelin claimed he had arrived at a solution a year earlier but had waited to publish his results. Guimet countered by declaring that he had conceived his formula two years prior but—like Gmelin—had opted not to publicize his findings. The committee awarded the prize to Guimet, much to the displeasure of the German gentry, and the artificial blue became known as “French ultramarine.”

Pendant in the form of a Hathoric Head 22nd Dynasty reign of Osorkon II (874-850 BC)

Even the Egyptians treasured lapis lazuli. The Egyptian Book of the Dead recognizes lapis lazuli, carved in the shape of an eye and set in gold, as an amulet of inestimable power. Cleopatra, in common lore, wore powdered lapis lazuli as eye shadow.

in crystal healing, Lapis lazuli is believed to have healing qualities. Lapis Lazuli Encourages self-awareness, allows self-expression and reveals inner truth, providing qualities of honesty, compassion and morality to the personality. Stimulates objectivity, clarity and encourages creativity.

It certainly encouraged my creativity and I enjoyed experimenting with this most vibrant and famous gemstone. If you wish to view or purchase this piece, the exhibition is running from today (2nd of September) until the 15th of October. You will find my piece in the Mill Fields area of the gardens. The gardens are open from 10 am to 5pm 7 days a week and Admission to the exhibition is free or charge.

Below is a short video from my studio where you can see the artist at work on this piece.

Enjoy and hope to see you at the exhibition.

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