David Annesley, continues the Waddington Custot
digital solo exhibition series, with a presentation of recent sculptures by British artist David Annesley. The second iteration of the NEW WORK initiative celebrates Annesleys return to making, following an extended hiatus The new online presentation is held over fifty years after Annesleys first exhibition with Waddington Custot, held at the gallery in 1966.
The exhibition includes four unseen works by Annesley, which relate to pieces the artist began making in the 1960s, following his studies under Anthony Caro at St Martins School of Art and subsequent inclusion in The New Generation: 1965 show at Londons Whitechapel Gallery. These works continue Annesleys revolutionary approach to colour and form. Fluid geometrical structures are used as vehicles to explore colour relationships, relative to space and movement. The new works each combine two rings of curved aluminium or steel, which share a common centre, structured in such a way that the inner rings appear to float within the other, creating a sense of weightlessness.
In addition to the influence of his teachers and mentors, Annesleys distinctive approach to sculpture, with its open metal forms and fluid lines, can also be attributed to his physical experience of flying as an RAF pilot in the 1950s. Annesley commented The lines of my sculptures can be flown by miniature aeroplanes. The rotational symmetry of the suspended circular forms are strongly relatable to the aerobatics and inverted manoeuvres, such as loops and rolls that Annesley once performed. In Up and Over, red blocks threaten to touch the inner yellow ring, while dark green arches gently push against the circle, creating a rising tension within the marine blue support. In contrast, when viewed from the front, the angled stepped struts enclosed within the outer shell of Ongaparinga, accentuate the sculptures wafer thin edges, which appear as geometrical line drawings in space, only revealing suspended shapes and planes when seen from different viewpoints.
Intrinsic to the structures are Annesleys colour combinations. In contrast to the industrial quality of the steel, the brightly coloured panels instil a sense of weightlessness and dynamism to the works, causing the sculptures to expand into and envelop their surrounding spaces.
David Annesley (b. 1936, London) completed National Service in 1958, and later the same year enrolled at St Martins to study painting. He transferred to the sculpture department to study under Frank Martin and Anthony Caro, and worked as a studio assistant with fellow student Michael Bolus. After graduating in 1961, he taught at the Croydon College of Art, St Martins and Central School of Art and Design, London. His first solo exhibition was held at The Waddington Galleries, London, in 1966. He had two more solo shows at Waddington Galleries in 1968 and 1970. Swing Low (1964), Loquat (1965) and Untitled (19689) entered the Tate collection in 1971 as part of the Alistair McAlpine Gift. Annesleys work is held in other important public collections around the world, including the British Council Collection; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Nagoya City Art Museum, Japan; and National Museums of Northern Ireland. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculptors in 1995.
Annesleys open-form, metal sculptures draw upon his own physical experience flying as an RAF pilot. They convey a sense of weightlessness and expand into and envelop the surrounding space outlined by their linear forms. In 1964, Annesley was introduced by Caro to the American Color Field painter, Kenneth Noland, with whom he stayed in 1966 and 1968 in Bennington, Vermont. This artistic friendship was significant in bridging the traditionally separate mediums of sculpture and painting, and encouraged Annesleys exploration of colour relationships in his sculptures.