Human Form - Rodney Munday Sculptor

Rodney Munday - Sculptor
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Human Form

"We do not know how to represent the body and do not believe in the existence of the soul" - Kenneth Clark

A challenge if ever there was one for a sculptor whose whose first love is the human form - especially at a time when life-drawing is dismissed as valueless in many modern art schools.
The Creation of Adam and Eve
Height 78" / 183cms
Edition 9

This sculpture is one of a very few which I originally produced purely for myself, and its symbolism has personal significance.
Variations on the image of Adam's creation have been represented countless times over the centuries, important to artists as a symbol of the creative act. The biblical story of Creation represents, for me, a God who has an idea, a concept, but until the point where he makes a man in the physical world, that man is not a reality. Once man is actually created, he takes on an existence outside his creator. Only then can God communicate with him, because it is only then that he has a life (if disobedient) of his own. The story is a paradigm for every act of creation, whether of a child or a work of art. The act of creation liberates the created from the creator. Conception is not yet life and conceptual art is therefore, in my view, a contradiction in terms.

In this sculpture Adam and Eve are not yet fully formed; the claywork is unfinished and Adam’s spine has not been totally covered with flesh. The only complete image above the plinth is that of the apple, placed in the garden before the couple were made, a symbol of freedom and the responsibility that goes with it.

The plinth bears on its front face a semi-abstract image which I originally produced as a painting. It is both a representation of the generations of Adam, and a kind of Dance of Death. Two lovers dance across a grid of squares and oblongs which represent the grave, while three embryos spread out from the position of the womb like ripples, the final one breaking the ultimate grave image, the block itself. The design is then broken into its constituent parts on the three remaining faces of the plinth in order to give an insight into its structure.


As I worked on this piece, several literary allusions came to mind and influenced its development. I was conscious of Milton's portrayal of Adam's loyalty and love after Eve's act of disobedience; of Hopkins' The Wreck of the Deutchland, particularly the lines:
    Thou hast bound bones & veins in me, fastened me flesh,
    And after it almost unmade, what with dread,      
    Thy doing
and Beckett's lines from Waiting for Godot about making love and giving birth "over a shallow grave."
Daphne
Height 65" / 165cms
Edition: 9

As with The Creation of Adam & Eve, Daphne is a work that I undertook for personal reasons. I have always been fascinated by transformation myths because the act of sculpting is itself an act of transformation, turning an inanimate material into something that appears to live.

The story of Daphne is traditionally represented  at the point at which Apollo's attempt at rape is frustrated by her turning into a tree, as in Bernini's beautiful sculpture. I wanted rather to concentrate on the transition itself, seeing it as a symbol of a link between the human and natural worlds.

Conspiracy of Silence
Height 14" / 35cms
Edition 8

I was asked to produce a sculpture of “the three wise monkeys,” to which I agreed - with the proviso that they would not be monkeys, and not sitting in a row. This is, in fact, fair enough, since although the image of the monkeys is very ancient, and the association of monkeys with wisdom in eastern culture long standing, it appears that this is partly because the word monkey is a play on the Japanese word for wisdom, so it is possible that the monkeys themselves might be an afterthought.


Whatever, I wanted to present the image in human form, and as the idea developed, it took on a different direction altogether. The covered eyes, ears and mouths became a representation of those individuals and groups who cannot speak for themselves or if they can, dare not;  for those who, if they do speak,  are not listened to, or are ignored by wilful blindness.  The sculpture has therefore become an image of repression and suppression, and of the anxiety that goes with them. It is a call - that might also go unheard - against that disregard and fear of expression which have, across the centuries, been imposed by individuals; political, religious and other groups; by desensitized bureaucracies; and perhaps, most insidiously, by fashions of thought.

It is my hope that I might be presented with a situation where this sculpture could become the maquette for a large scale work.

Woman with Urn
Height 18" / 46cms
Edition 9
Saint Edmund of Abingdon (maquette)
Edition 9
Josh (portrait bust)
Edition 9
Client beside himself
Rodney Munday- Sculptor
Camwell Orchard, Much Hadham, Herts SG10 6BB, UK
Miramont, 09140 Oust, Ariege, France

Phone: +44 (0)1279 843652 (UK)               +33(0)561 96 46 72 (France)
Mobile: +44(0)7981 472751 Email: info@rodneymunday-sculptor.co.uk
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