Paul de Monchaux: Fixing Memory at the Piper Gallery
London-based Canadian sculptor Paul de Monchaux (b. 1934) is perhaps best known for his commissioned public sculptures, such as Symmetry (1993), for the Wilfred Owen memorial in Shrewsbury.
Over a career spanning five decades he has created pieces on a variety of scales and has worked in several different mediums. As a figurative sculptor his works respond to physical forms, rather than concepts, yet they are often refined to the point that their origins can no longer be identified. In a new exhibition 12 of his pieces are currently on display at the Piper Gallery, whose aim is to present works by contemporary artists with careers spanning 40 years or more to a new audience.
The exhibition, entitled Fixing Memory, brings together pieces created between 1986 and 2013, using bronze, steel and various types of stone. Both form and texture are subjects to be explored and there is much contrast, for example, between the rigid, cubed structure that is Equilateral (1989) and the bulbous curves of Song School (2009).
Some of the works are sculpted from Purbeck spangle limestone, giving them a grey swirled pattern and a shimmering surface. The use of this material particularly complements the pieces Intrados (1996) and Freight to Groove (1994) which, in shape, are reminiscent of clouds or cartoon-style rainbows. There appears to be a focus in the exhibition, as in De Monchaux’s work as a whole, on symmetry. Each piece is symmetrical or has repeating elements.
De Monchaux’s sculptures are minimal and elegant, yet often retain a sense of playfulness – their glittering or shiny smooth surfaces are so visually appealing that the viewer is tempted to touch. The occasion of De Monchaux’s works being brought into the gallery setting is an infrequent one and, for admirers of contemporary sculpture, the exhibition therefore presents a rare experience that should not be missed.
Paul de Monchaux: Fixing Memory, Sculpture 1986-2013 is at the Piper Gallery until 15th March 2013. For further information visit the gallery’s website here.