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Three decades of sculpture & works on paper by Terence Coventry on view at Pangolin London
Terence Coventry, Corten Owl. Corten steel. Unique. Image: courtesy of Pangolin London; Photo: Steve Russell.

LONDON.- Terence Coventry returns to Pangolin London this January with his third solo exhibition at the gallery. Exploring sculpture and works on paper from the last three decades of his career, this important one-man show traces the development of Coventry’s themes and preoccupations from 1985 to the present day.

This body of both new and old work demonstrates Terence Coventry’s enduring fascination with the natural world and the connection between man and beast.

His affinity with nature and his ability to absolutely capture an animal’s character is in no small way down to the decades he has spent as a pig farmer in rural Cornwall. After a period at Stourbridge School of Art in the mid 1950’s under the tutelage of Keith Leonard, who would later become Barbara Hepworth’s assistant, and a brief stint at the Royal College of Art, Coventry eventually found himself posted to North Devon on National Service. It was following his discharge from the army that Coventry decided to put his artistic pursuits to one side, setting up home, and farm, on the Cornish coast.

For the following thirty years Terence Coventry’s natural talent as an artist lay dormant while he worked the land and watched the animals that surrounded him. It wasn’t until the early 1980’s that Coventry once again began to make work, inspired by the beauty of his surroundings. Torso, the first piece to be made following these three decades of quiet, has a subtle yet demanding beauty and is certainly one of the exhibition highlights. Created from a fallen elm tree found on his farm, Torso demonstrates Coventry’s skill for creating something powerful from very little, inspired by the simple principle that you work with what you have.

Tender and unpretentious, Coventry’s intimate portraits are created not only out of a deep love and respect for nature, but also from a need to sculpt what he knows and what is immediately available to him. Rooted in a strong figurative tradition, Coventry’s work explores the human form and the animals familiar to him such as birds, bulls, hounds and boars and eloquently captures both their ruggedness and gentleness, their movement and behaviour.

The wide range of materials in Coventry’s work also provides evidence of this practical ‘needs must’ approach to sculpture. Steel pieces, such as his Corten Owl are created in a angular, pared down fashion to fit the more restrictive properties of this strong, unmaliable material. His bronze works in contrast show the texture and ruggedness allowed by creating the piece in plaster before casting.

Whatever the medium, in every contour of bronze or plane of steel, it is clear to see the artist’s reverance for his subjects and dedication to his craft. Both in sculptural and drawn form, Coventry’s work feels absolutely vital. As rugged as the Cornish countryside where he still works as an artist, and unencumbered by the trends and fashions of the contemporary art world, Terence Coventry creates pieces that are intensely personal, enduring and full of integrity.

A number of new works are also are included in the exhibition and prices start at a modest £265.

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