contemporary, sculpture

Peter Randall-Page rocks at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

October 21, 2009

Published on Culture 24

Exhibition: Peter Randall-Page, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Underground Gallery, Garden Gallery and open air, Wakefield, until January 2010

Glacial boulders provide much of the raw material. And having been thawed out and carved up by Peter Randall– Page, the rocks still appear to be moving.

To claim that stones have energy fields would until now put you in a bracket with new age types and fans of ancient civilisation. Yet in this artist’s most extensive exhibition to date, that is surely the case.

At least one piece appears to breathe —  a boulder covered in uniform craters, called Inhalation. While another seems to give off warmth —  a huge rock called Skin Deep covered in thick grooves.

But the beating heart of this show is a room containing two dark limestone monoliths. Fructus and Corpus stand more than 2m tall and bulge as if still growing.

They are carved and polished to within a millimetre of their geometric design. This smoothness, coupled with more than 13 tonne a-piece weight, gives them an almost magnetic appeal.

Elsewhere a roomful of tiny working models exert just as strong a pull on the viewer. Because whether simply folding clay or experimenting with maquettes, Randall-Page creates strange beings along organic lines. Even on this micro scale they have a sense of mass.

Other works explore the musicality of geological structure. Rocks In My Bed takes its name from a Duke Ellington song and features four boulders each with their own backdrop. The well-balanced composition pulsates with funky black and ochre stripes.

Meanwhile, six large earthy coloured works on paper resemble brain tissue. They are in fact walnuts, just one of many formal correspondences revealed to us through this show. Indeed all the works here have one thing in common, life force.

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