For his first solo exhibition in London for over ten years, British artist Eric Bainbridge brings together a series of new sculptural works made from steel and other more incongruous materials. Using steel for the first time in his sculptures Bainbridge has drawn himself closer to 50s and 60s modernist abstraction embodied by sculptors, David Smith and Anthony Caro. These new works, combining both formal and unexpected elements, highlight the duality which has run throughout Bainbridges career. Eric Bainbridge: Steel Sculptures opens at Camden Arts Centre
on 28 September 2012 and admission is free.
Bainbridge started making steel sculptures in response to a long held memory of the post Caro dogma of the 1970s, and to his recent collages where he used cut-outs from lifestyle magazines to create a series of works over laying disparate imagery to comic and shocking affect. Relating back to the visual puns and use of everyday materials associated with the Surrealists, Dadaists and Constructivists, these new works reference the process of creating collage while resolutely becoming sculptures. With their combination of stock and reclaimed steel and other found elements including lurid velour and woollen blankets they could be described as 3D collages and, as Bainbridge says I now have a series of elements which are new to my practice heavy imagery and use of colour in opposition to another structure.
Bainbridge has always been interested by the surface of things and since the late 70s his sculptural works have taken advantage of various materials, including fake fur and wood effect melamine. Often described as kitsch his preferred objects and materials are found in everyday life, second hand shops, scrap metal yards, DIY stores - stuff that is readily available and cheap. Bainbridge reconsiders the value and status of these. In various combinations he has blown objects up to outsize proportions, covered them in an attempt to disguise, and piled them on top of each other in a variety of balancing acts. Given the UKs position drawing influence from America, Europe and an increasingly developing world, Bainbridge incorporates multiple components and reference points, including concepts and inspiration from art history and todays extended cultural field. Working across a wide array of media including video, installation and photography his work is continuously expanding to incorporate societys constant changes in style, thought, fashion and taste.
Eric Bainbridge (b.1955) trained at Newcastle Polytechnic (1974-77) and then took a Masters in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art (1978-81). He is currently the Professor of Fine Art at the University of Sunderland and lives between there and London. Throughout the 1980s and 90s his work was shown extensively throughout Europe and the US including significant solo exhibitions: View Points, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (1986); Institute Contemporary Art, Boston (1987); Style, Space, Elegance, The Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1989); Pittsburgh Centre for the Arts, Pittsburgh (1992). During this time he was represented by Salvatore Ala and showed several times in his New York gallery. Since the 90s Bainbridge has shown throughout the UK; Eric Bainbridge Works 92-97, Cornerhouse, Manchester and Delfina, London (1997); Forward Thinking MIMA, Middlesbrough, UK (2008) and has been included in a number of group exhibitions focusing on British sculpture: New Generations - Sculpture in Britain 1951-2000, Leeds City Art Gallery (2001); Size Matters, Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2005); Modern British Sculpture, Royal Academy (2011). He was nominated for the Northern Art Prize, Leeds City Art Gallery in 2008 and is currently represented by Workplace Gallery, Gateshead.