Since my exhibition at Mandell's Gallery in Norwich in January, I have worked exclusively on two related themes: the Reliquary and the Landmine. Still employing my symbol of the landscape, the agricultural tool, I have researched more deeply the link between that landscape and ecclesiastical architecture, a link which has preoccupied me for some years.
I have used the Reliquary, normally a container of religious relics of saints, as a vehicle for my ideas. Instead of making the container from the usual precious metals and gem stones, I have substituted the mundane spade in order to emphasise the link in Norfolk between the churches, the communities that built them and the land which produced the wealth that paid for them. The box as a container of 'magic' has appeared. I have lately investigated the folding nature of packaging, using hinges, either custombuilt or commercially available, enabling the finished sculpture to be unfolded onto a flat surface. The construction is very simple: once the six spades are carved, they are linked by the single hinge at each junction. The abstraction of the developing box has fascinated me.
The Landmine as an image has been around in my work for some time. The idea that the simple spade can 'explode' the land, recreating the natural world as manmade, has intrigued me. I have a strong image from my childhood at the seaside of the sea mines that were defused, stood on promenades and used to collect money for nautical charities. The spikes that protruded from the vessel which originally contained the explosive, influenced my own Landmine sculptures. I have sometimes used an implied volume (defined by spade blades) as the vessel, and sometimes have used a cube of blades, as in the Reliquaries.
I have realised that these two themes are also interestingly interlinked, as they tend to crossover one another. A look at the sculpture bears this out, I think.
Bob Catchpole 2014.