New documentary gives inside view of art museum’s attempts to become more diverse
May 30, 2023
Museum of Modern Art acquires more than 200 works by experimental film-maker Ken Jacobs
May 30, 2023
New documentary gives inside view of art museum’s attempts to become more diverse
May 30, 2023
Museum of Modern Art acquires more than 200 works by experimental film-maker Ken Jacobs
May 30, 2023



Art

#animals#bronze#Nichola Theakston#sculpture

Resting with Ancients: Nichola Theakston Invokes Animal Spirits in Her Contemplative Bronze Sculptures

May 31, 2023

Kate Mothes

A bronze sculpture of a horse.

Detail of “Resting with Ancients” (2023), edition of 12, bronze, 46 x 44 x 26 centimeters. All images © Nichola Theakston, shared with permission

As far back as 5,000 years ago, ancient Egyptians worshipped the goddess Bastet, who took the form of a lioness, a fierce warrior deity associated with the sun. She was seen as a protector during pregnancy and childbirth and a defender against evil spirits and diseases. Over time, her likeness adopted the characteristics of a domestic cat, which in later dynasties assumed cult-like status, and the animals were revered and bred for protection and sacrifice. Along with mythological beings such as Sekhmet, another lion-faced, solar goddess of medicine, the deities comprise an integral part of sculptor Nichola Theakston’s soulful exploration into the history, lore, and spirits of animals.

Working in ceramics and bronze, Theakston’s practice (previously) centers on meditative depictions of mammals, drawing on ancient sources to connect viewers with contemporary concerns and timeless perceptions.In her continuing series of primate portraits, the subjects appear calm, meditative, or lost in thought and emphasize her interest in our “commonality and shared consciousness.” With a focus on faces, she often leaves the bodies unfinished, hinting at shoulders or limbs while highlighting the details of jawlines, ears, and brows.

A bronze sculpture of a monkey.

Detail of “Sacred Langur 2” (2023), bronze, edition of 15, 27 centimeters tall

Informed by her work with ceramics, Theakston is constantly evolving her approach to the nuances of texture and color. Each piece, first sculpted by hand before being cast in bronze, bears an organic, expressive approach that spotlights the presence of the artist’s hand. The surfaces feature subtle score marks, nudges, and notches, which draw attention to elegant silhouettes and the supple folds of ears and eyelids. A range of patination techniques, which the artist is consistently experimenting with and developing, create subtle shifts in contrast and hue so no two are exactly alike.

“I have been working recently on canine and feline subjects with reference to ancient Egyptian forebears and sculptural representations,” Theakston tells Colossal. In “Pariah,” the artist’s beloved Mediterranean podenco named Nola mirrors the sleek features of Anubis, the dog-headed Egyptian god of funerary rights and usher to the underworld. “Nola at times seems to very much embody her ancient ancestry and our interwoven human connection with both,” she says.

“Resting with Ancients” will be on view with Sladmore Gallery as part of London Art Week from June 30 to July 7, and if you’re in The Netherlands, you can find her work at Art Laren fair with De KunstSalon, which runs June 16 to 18. Theakston is currently casting a new macaque study at Castle Fine Arts Foundry in Powys, Wales. See more on her website and Instagram.

A bronze sculpture of a dog.

“Pariah,” bronze, edition of 12, 60 x 56 centimeters

A bronze sculpture of a monkey.

“Sacred Langur 2” (2023), bronze, edition of 15, 27 centimeters tall

A bronze sculpture of a horse.

“Resting with Ancients” (2023), edition of 12, bronze, 46 x 44 x 26 centimeters

A bronze sculpture of a lion's head.

“Sekhmet,” bronze, edition of 12, 46 x 39 x 48 centimeters

A bronze sculpture of a cat.

“Bastet Study 4,” bronze, edition of 15, 27 centimeters

A bronze sculpture of a cat.

Detail of “Bastet Study 4,” bronze, edition of 15, 27 centimeters

A bronze sculpture of a monkey.

“Monkey Sketch 4” (2023), bronze, edition of 15, 27 centimeters

A bronze sculpture of a cat.

Detail of “Bastet 2,” bronze

A bronze sculpture of a cat.

“Bastet 2,” bronze

#animals#bronze#Nichola Theakston#sculpture

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. You’ll connect with a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, read articles and newsletters ad-free, sustain our interview series, get discounts and early access to our limited-edition print releases, and much more. Join now!

First appeared on…

Comments are closed.