When is a medal not a medal? When it is a sculpture to be held in the hand, not just a gong to pin on for bravery or Sporting Prowess.
Director of Sladmore Contemporary, Gerry Farrell, planned this exhibition, which consists of about 53 medals by 21st century artists, and a small number of miniature sculptures.
Farrell chose the medals, a ‘demeaning’ word in his view, together with two medallists, and Philip Attwood, President of the British Art Medal Society and Keeper of Coins and Medals at the British Museum.
Farrell has always been fascinated by the miniature and acquired his own fine collection of tiny bronzes from many centuries.
He commissioned two new medals for the show from sculptors Sophie Dickens and Olivia Musgrave.
Neil McGregor, director of the British Museum: ‘Medallists of the Renaissance invented an art form with extraordinary possibilities, to be enjoyed for its aesthetic qualities, capable of condensing all sorts of thoughts into the very smallest of spaces’.
Philip Attwood, supreme expert on medals and coins: ‘The medal can be a small scale masterpiece of concision. The tactile is as important as the visual, the front of the miniature sculpture as important as the back, originally intended to illustrate the outer and inner man or woman’
The works can represent an infinite number of thoughts, feelings, passions and opinions, political, subversive, narrative. Subjects in this show include Greek mythology, Nature, the human form, abstract and geometric concepts.
The exhibition includes work by Sladmore sculptors whose work is usually made on a larger or monumental scale : tiny woodland creatures by Nick Bibby, Mark Coreth, who celebrates the big cats of Africa and India, and Nic Fiddian-Green, creator of monumental equine heads.
Monday - Thursday from 10am to 6pm
Friday from 10am to 5pm or by appointment