A stunning 8ft bronze sculpture of a female dancer by local artist Emma Rodgers, takes centre stage at the Walker Art Gallery
from 28 April to 6 July 2010.
"The Dancer" captures a moment in mid-performance. The curve of the figures back and the outstretched limbs are reminders of the beauty and elegance of her movement and yet the physical strain and effort to achieve it. The high-arched feet of the sculpture mirror the distinctive shape of a dancers feet, shaped by years of practice.
The display, "Emma Rodgers: From Sketch to Sculpture", reveals the journey from the artist's imagination to reality. The sculpture is accompanied by preparatory sketches and photographs taken by Rodgers as visual aids. There is also a photograph of the maquette, which Rodgers employed to test her ideas out in 3D and replicas of a foot of the sculpture at various stages in the casting process, revealing how the method known as the "lost wax process" works.
Rodgers says: As an artist I am interested in energy, confrontation, curiosity, interaction and movement. With "The Dancer" I seek to capture a moment that conveys her grace and poise while simultaneously conveying the physical exertion on the body.
My mother brought me to the Walker Art Gallery from a very young age, so it is quite magical to be part of a place I have such a personal affinity with. It was important to me that "The Dancer", which has a strong connection to Liverpool, was seen by a Liverpool audience.
Rodgers began to use dancers in her work in 2005 when she was introduced to Ch4pter, a contemporary dance group based in Liverpool. "The Dancer" is a portrait of Sophie Paratte, one of the first dance graduates from the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA). Rodgers represents this link to Liverpool by recreating the citys skyline on the sculpture.
This display is a continuation of the Walker Art Gallery's celebration of female artists. "The Rise of Women Artists", which runs until 1 August 2010, charts the progress of female artists from the 16th century to the present day with an exhibition made up entirely of the gallerys own holdings. Ahead of its time in collecting works by women artists the scope and range of work is outstanding. Rodgers' sculpture, "Monkey Mother and Child" features in the section of the exhibition which explores the contribution of women to contemporary art.
The gallery is also host to "Dare to Wear: Glass Dresses" by Diana Dias-Leão, a stunning display of beautiful but deadly garments on show until 30 September 2011. Not made for practical wear, this collection of couture sculpture is designed to create discussion and debate about issues around beauty and body image.
Emma Rodgers is a Wirral based artist who knew from childhood that she just had to keep on making. She studied Ceramics and Glass at Wolverhampton University. Since completing her studies in 1998 she has exhibited her work internationally and achieved critical acclaim.