Clevedon based sculptor, James Wright, is set to showcase his new steel sculpture, entitled “Guardian (Be Aware),” at the upcoming NZ Sculpture OnShore exhibit in Devonport, Auckland on 3rd-18th November.
The piece is word-play on a guard dog and the sign for guard dogs ‘Beware’, and James says, “I wanted my piece to be a tribute to Women’s Refuge. It represents a dog that is a guardian. It sends a message about the importance of watching over and protecting those around us. It is also saying be aware of your actions and responsibilities.”
As a sculptor, James appreciates the harshness, strength and longevity of the steel he works with. In his studio this medium allows him to be quite severe, using hammers and tools to tear and rip steel creating considerable noise, sweat and sometimes even blood. Yet despite the toughness and almost primal nature of the process, the result is anything but masculine.
James has an incredible talent for transforming large corten steel pieces into something quite soft and feminine. He creates texture and an almost lacey form out of 3mm hard steel.“I see it as an expression,” says James. “Creating this softness allows my work to have a presence and a message. As you study the piece, it may have a strong first impression but then layers of meaning should become apparent.
“This is a guardian dog not a guard dog and its form has changed from a large threatening animal into something softer. Its tail is up, its head is pricked, and the guardian is alert with a watchful presence,” he adds.
James has had a busy year with his sculpture and he also featured in the six-episode television series of Design Junkies “It was a privilege to be part of the first television series and it was great to reach such a broad audience,” he says. “But right now I am looking forward to finishing my piece for Sculpture OnShore and then seeing it on display in such a fantastic location.
“It’s incredibly rewarding after putting in so much sweat and hard work and often working in quite an isolated way. I just love that feeling when you finally step back and see your piece for what it is and you feel so much a part of the Sculpture OnShore community which is supportive and working for such a good cause,” says James.