Installation view, Gallery IX Photography: John Bodkin, DawkinsColour
This room of sculptors’ work is dominated – especially when seen from the Wohl Central Hall – by Ivor Abrahams’s Suburban Totem, which is, as the title implies, a cross between a suburban semi and a painted wooden monument carved by a Native American tribe. Nearby is a maquette for a similar object, but Tudor Totem is a witty combination of architectural details and owls in lath and plaster, suggesting that this idea could run and run.
Abrahams, together with John Carter, hung this gallery, under the direction of Tony Cragg. Carter, a recently elected Academician, has just one work here, a characteristically restrained, deceptively simple wall piece, which he tries ‘not to call a relief but it’s difficult not to’. It’s the only work by him in the entire show. ‘As a selector it’s probably better to have just one thing in the exhibition,’ he says, a remark as restrained as the work itself.
There’s a group of small sculptures and maquettes on plinths by, among others, Geoffrey Clarke, Paul de Monchaux, and Guy Thomas, and the walls are hung with sculptors’ drawings, most notably by Sir Anthony Caro (a drawing of a palm tree by him is nearly an annual feature of the Summer Exhibition) and William Tucker. Of the smaller works, Dhruva Mistry’s two pieces in painted steel, almost like cardboard cut-outs, hold the attention by contrasting positive and negative forms and suggesting the multiple limbs of a Hindu god (one of the figures has Hanuman’s tail, too). The large blue nude, one of David Mach’s postcard collages – the postcards themselves are becoming increasingly difficult to recognise as such – has, according to John Carter, a ‘curiously Gustav Klimt look’, and indeed, it does glitter with large areas of gold.