To celebrate the publication of Ann Christopher’s recent monograph, and solo exhibition at the Royal Academy, Pangolin London is proud to present a selection of sculptures and works on paper spanning all four decades of her oeuvre. New sculptures and series of drawings inspired by the West Coast of Ireland will bring the exhibition up to the present.
Ann Christopher’s sculptures have a familiar yet mysterious presence. Much like ancient standing stones that signal lives lived and histories unknown, Christopher’s work is imbued with soul and humanity while remaining distinctly in the realm of the abstract and belonging to a visual language all of its own.
Her artistic process is fuelled by an instinctual approach to making. On first observation the sculptures seem to form organically in the studio through a series of formal decisions and aesthetic concerns. A basic shape is chosen and a template is constructed, often out of material as humble as cardboard. The shape is then built up using resin, giving depth and texture to the form before it is cast into Christopher’s metal of choice and further worked upon. Precise machine made linear incisions create a tension with delicate hand made surfaces. Integral to this process of making by instinct however is the stimulus and fascination Christopher draws upon from a broad range of visual sources. Among other things the artist takes inspiration from soaring skyscrapers and urban skylines as well as plant structures, animal skeletons and ancient artefacts.
My work is very much a visual diary of my physical and emotional life, an expression of some of the visual experiences stored in my subconscious. Unlike a computer I cannot search and find – the images emerge seemingly at random, it is only once these visual experiences appear in the works that the origins can sometimes be retraced
Christopher’s enquiries into both the natural and man-made, the ancient and the contemporary are present throughout her work. Her sculpture harnesses the approach of modern architecture and aerodynamics while containing a primal landscape of marks reminiscent of an ancient cliff face or timeless seascape on their surface. These influences bring both a fearless modernity and an intriguing primitivism to her work and draw the natural world and the man-made world, the past and the present, not into collision, but into a seamless harmony.
In 1980, at only 32 years old, Ann Christopher was one of the youngest sculptors to be elected a Royal Academician in the Academy’s history. Having exhibited extensively since the late 1960s she has become renowned for a style that articulates both great strength and delicate sensitivity.