An incredible piece of art has the power to transform a space, be that a public park, a home, or, perhaps especially, a garden.
Sculpture enhances the environment in a different way to planting. More than just a focal point or an element of interest, a well-chosen, well-placed piece can invoke a mood, and alter the energy and experience. It can inspire emotion, spark contemplation and reflection, and crucially add beauty.
Simon Gudgeon, one of Britain’s leading contemporary sculptors, has won international acclaim for creating sculptures which do just that. With their signature smooth style, his pared-back, elegant forms are favoured by Royalty and rock stars alike, and his work is sought-after by private collectors and displayed in high-profile public spaces around the world.
Having grown up on his family farm in the Yorkshire countryside, nature has always been a source of inspiration for Simon. He has often favoured the shape, form and movement of birds, but his work spans styles – from figurative to abstract to kinetic, and varies in scale from gallery pieces to monumental works.
Simon’s giant abstract bird sculptures are particularly well known. His 3m-tall bronze ‘Isis’, for example, was the first sculpture to be installed in London’s Hyde Park in 50 years, while another casting is at America’s National Museum of Wildlife Art in Wyoming. Two of his sculptures feature outside the Cirque du Soleil International Headquarters in Montreal, Canada, and three are installed at London’s most exclusive and luxurious address – One Hyde Park.
What unites Simon’s work, and is embodied in every piece, is his core belief that sculpture must above all else be a thing of beauty; it must uplift the spirit and enhance its surroundings. On a deeper level it must connect with the viewer, stirring their senses and appealing to their emotions in a visceral way. This is the nature of Simon’s work.
The choice of a sculpture is a deeply personal one and should be led by the innate response of the viewer to a piece. Simon’s ideas take months, even years, to form in his mind, so he never takes commissions – believing that the work of an artist creating what they want will always be far superior to something they’re paid to produce.
And, rather than a gallery or museum, Simon believes it is important to experience large and monumental sculptures in a setting where they are at scale with their surroundings, and their power is undiminished. For the past decade he has developed an extraordinary 26-acre sculpture park at his Dorset home, where a collection of his work can be viewed and is available to purchase.
Here, under the open skies, viewers and potential buyers can appreciate the unique character of outdoor sculpture as an ever-changing event, both transforming the landscape, and part of it – altering with the seasons, the weather, the time of day, the differing light, and the passage of time.
Sculptures are not the only non-organic element to enhance a garden. Drawing inspiration from Sculpture by the Lakes, Simon has also developed Studio Gudgeon. This is a range of functional artwork, including benches and hanging seats, fire bowls, gates and fencing, designed to elevate private garden spaces in the same way as Simon has his sculpture park, turning Sculpture by the Lakes into a work of art in its own right. It is the perfect place to appreciate how sculptural forms can enhance the landscape, and an ideal source of inspiration for anyone looking to transform a garden or any outdoor space.
Discover Simon Gudgeon at https://www.simongudgeon.com/ or visit Sculpture by the Lakes. Private viewings available by appointment.