Alison Wilding’s work is at once powerfully allusive and entirely abstract. Her sculptures operate on their own terms without the need to be ‘about’ anything other than themselves, and the conditions of their making.
Arena (2000) is different from Wilding’s other more robust sculptures in that it presents us with mass without weight. Concentric bands of transparent grey acrylic appear to billow out from a narrow base, with each new layer slotting into the one below. Balanced on the rim of the sculpture, as well as nestled inside, are two wedge-shaped lozenges. These static elements – which hold and respond to light in a different way to the acrylic – offer a point of contrast to the restless dynamism of the rest of the sculpture.
Together, Leeds Art Gallery and the Henry Moore Institute have built one of the strongest public collections of British sculpture in the UK and this major work by Alison Wilding represents an important contribution to our collection. This ambitious sculpture is a lasting legacy by a leading British sculptor who exhibited at The Henry Moore Foundation Studio, Halifax, Yorkshire in 2000.
Alison Wilding studied at the Ravensbourne College of Art, Bromley, and the Royal College of Art, London. Based in London, Wilding has been making sculpture since the late 1970s and was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1988 and 1992. Recent solo exhibitions have taken place at Art House Foundation, London (2016); Tate Britain, London (2013); The Whitworth, The University of Manchester (2013); and the New Art Centre, Roche Sculpture Park, Salisbury (2011).
Alison Wilding (b. 1948)
Polycarbonate and cast polyurethane rubber
Gifted by Simmons & Simmons through the Contemporary Art Society, 2016