A mooch around the Minories

The Minories is part of Colchester Art School and has some lovely art spaces and displays that change every three months or so.. there were two exhibitions when I visited last week…

Mark Scott Wood


Mark Scott Wood’s work on display at the Minories in Colchester

Ummm…  I get Scott Wood’s work but I’m not entirely enthralled. I can see it’s about tribes, sects, cults and similar types of groups and that it borrows symbolism from these in the form of totems, witches hats and such like. His objects are made from the detritus  of society – discarded items such as cardboard tubes, plastic bits and pieces and potatoes…  But hang on, we would eat the potatoes rather than discard,them wouldn’t we? Or perhaps we have to wait until some satanic rite has been performed over them and they have been  thrice boiled in a witches cauldron?

I was entertained but moved on fairly quickly. Perhaps I’ll come back to his work in the future with a more open mind and get a bit more out of it.

Victor Batte-Lay Foundation – sculpture collection

The lovely Minories building is owned by the Victor Batte-Lay Foundation, which has a small and intriguing collection of fairly important artworks, and some sculptures were on display. These were a joy to me and relate nicely to my current studies about observing the human figure. I’ve pick out a few pieces that made a particular impression.


Kore, a bronze by Michael Ayrton (1921-1975)

kore2Kore is the name given to this sculpture which probably refers to Persephone the Greek goddess of fertility and the Queen of the Underworld. How wonderful it is that this piece seems to express something very different depending on the viewpoint. In the first photo straight on)  there is an air of pathos and in the second (from the side) strength and beauty seem to sing out.

I’ve just read a description on the Foundation’s website where it says: “This muscular bronze cranium is rooted like a rock on the earth and strains upwards in contortion that is on the brink of either ecstasy or anguish.” So,my personal interpretation was fairly close then!


Seated King – a small bronze by Catharni Stern

I can’t help but be drawn to this bronze – Seated King by Catharni Stern (1925-2015) after my efforts to draw and paint Shakespeare’s Richard II. What a lovely silhouette and interesting proportions. This really is a beautiful and delicate piece as you can see from the much better photograph on the Foundation’s website.

standing figures

Standing Figures – a bronze by Catharni Stern

And I enjoy this sculpture – Standing Figures – also by Catharni Stern because of the relaxed, very natural pose of the figures. They are all focused on some kind action… a football match perhaps… there is no clue to tell us what and that’s part of the intrigue in the piece. One of my personal aspirations is to paint figures in natural poses, going about life on the beach, on the street, down the pub. I’m much more attracted to these kinds of  poses than more formal portraits.

the runner

The Runner by Leon Underwood








The sculpture above by Leon Underwood (1890-1975) with it’s indeterminate sex, flowing lines and ever so slightly impossible body feels a little surreal and therein lies its fascination.



The Minories, Colchester

The Victor Batte-Lay Foundation












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