Bust Collection – a 21st century re-interpretation of the
historical portrait bust.
collection is a contemporary response to the traditionally sculpted
figurative statues and busts of the 18th and 19th centuries, but
rather than sculpting in clay or stone, the busts are made by direct
casting from real things.
construct the original sculpture from which the plaster casts are
taken, the first step is to ‘collage’ together all kinds
of materials and found objects – fabrics, haberdashery, model
buildings and vehicles, plastic packaging, corrugated card, paper,
electrical and plumbing parts and much else. The plaster casts made
from these originals pick up an amazing amount of texture and detail
giving the sculptures a strange air of realism.
idea of placing architectural monuments, iconic landmarks and random
objects on the headdresses was inspired by the intriguing 18th century
fad of decorating hats with very large scale, incongruous objects
- famously Marie Antoinette adorned a hat with a huge ship in full
references and objects chosen are quite diverse but are linked by
my perception of forms as extremely sculptural in nature - whether
an architectural structure, a bulldozer, a jet fighter or a book
or the extreme three-dimensional headgear and costumes designed
by the likes of Junya Watanabe or Alexander McQueen.
The Secret Society Elizabethan
‘Secret Society Sculptural Banquets’ are a series of
contemporary interventions in historic settings which provide a
‘live event’ for the Plaster Bust collection.
Everything one would expect at a luxurious banquet is invitingly
displayed along the length of a massive dining table - cascading
fruits, piles of exotic shell-fish, magnificent multi-tiered cakes,
and decanters of wine, set off by voluptuous bouquets of flowers.
Although at a glance glamorous and luxurious, in fact all the banquet
objects are cheap, every-day items dipped in plaster. Collected
from charity shops, pound shops, flea markets and from the recycle
bin, plastic flowers, fruit and cutlery, beer cans, paper plates,
charity shop glasses, discarded packaging including take-away cups
and burger boxes, chocolate boxes and cigarette packets all gather
a sense of sophistication and opulence when uniformly coated in
bright, white plaster. This ‘anti-luxe’ reflects one
of the key concepts behind the plaster busts themselves, being constructed
from waste and found materials of low intrinsic value.