When I was out on a bike ride along the Leeds Liverpool canal, as I was passing the “Mill at the Pier” I noticed some structures in the open space between the car park and the canal towpath. Curious, I rode over and stopped to take a look. I discovered that there were four large sculptures on display by a contemporary sculptor, Charles Hadcock. It transpired that this was an exhibition, lasting a few months until October 2010. There was an information panel which gave some information about the works and which informed me that I was in the “Wigan Sculpture Garden”. Typical of Wigan Council, this was the first I’d heard of either the exhibition and the “sculpture garden”. There’s been nothing in the local press and no publicity from the Council. Even a Google search doesn’t turn up any information, other than a mention on the artist’s own website. I think that having an exhibition of this nature is a great development, as is the establishment of the “sculpture garden as an exhibition space (assuming it’s permanent) a great addition to Wigan’s rather barren cultural landscape. But the lack of publicity really shows how hopeless the Council are when it comes to the Arts. The’re very good at promoting sports (which is a good thing) even to the point of being prepared to sacrifice Mesnes Playing field, a green space in the centre of town, so that Dave Whelan can construct his pet project (which isn’t a good thing), but they do very little to promote the Arts. Here they’ve done something, but don’t seem to have the drive and interest to publicise it.
As for the works on display; there were large scale cast metal pieces, three of them substantial in scale. As I looked at them I felt that they looked like a cross between a “natural” rock like style and industrial fabricated structures. According to the artist’s website, this is what he tries to achieve.
I particularly like “Helisphere”, a distorted sphere – “12 segments to form a twisted sphere around a central axis …. sitting on it’s side to show it’s change into an eliptical shape“. Viewed from different angles it presented different aspects and changing shapes.
“Torsion” was another favourite. This is “a stack of cast iron rocks that sit vertically in an apparently precarious way” .
With both these pieces, the irregular, twisting structure, creates interest.
The other two pieces were “Sextus” “pointed knuckle attached to two identical elements made from cast iron” and “Transformation”, “a man made fossil from an engineer’s pattern for a water pump encased inside a rock surface, split to reveal the interior structure”.
I thought they were less interesting than the other two, lacking the twists and turns.
I’ll be going back to have another look before the exhibition ends. It’s a pity they aren’t a permanent feature. let’s hope that the sculpture garden isn’t a temporary development and that further exhibitions are planned. I’m not holding my breath though!