Bob Catchpole is a Norfolk-born sculptor with agricultural links who studied Fine Art at Newcastle University before going on to post-graduate studies in sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art, London. He has spent a large part of his professional life teaching sculpture, latterly being head of sculpture at Eton College, Windsor for almost 30 years. He established his first studio in North Walsham, Norfolk in 1985 and has lived there ever since.
He has been using agricultural tools in his sculpture for a substantial period of time. The strange, humorous and surreal world of objects and creatures draws on the agricultural heritage of his county, using tools as a metaphor for man's relationship with his environment. Whilst celebrating the rich variety and sophistication of the tools needed to work the land, the sculptures also undermine our preconceptions about the nature of function and the world we inhabit.
He sees the mundane world of the toolshed as a magical environment inhabited by otherworldly forms where tools have taken on a life of their own. The witty and dynamic works show his preoccupations with the nature of carving and construction as sculpture in relation to the shapes and manufacturing processes from rural industry.
Using several different themes, the work has a playful, puzzle-like quality as well as some dark and sinister elements. He uses real and made-to-measure tools and locally-sourced oak to conjure up eccentric forms that can be both zoomorphic and anthropomorphic whilst retaining the identities of the original objects. Recent developments have seen an exploration of architectural themes, particularly in relation to church architecture, as well as a series of interlocking forms based on the idea of the daisychain, but using tools as the basic unit. This formal/informal relationship has been the major source of ideas for his recent work.
Created by Season and Amber at King's Lynn Art Centre 2015