Chances are, you’re probably more aware of the work of Elisabeth Frink than you might realise.
The prolific artist has sculptures all over England, including the sinewy form of the Shepherd and Sheep in London’s Paternoster Square, and the colossal Risen Christ statue for Liverpool Cathedral – the last sculpture produced by Frink before her death in 1993.
Opening today at London’s Beaux Arts Gallery is a comprehensive survey of the sculptor’s work, featuring about 25 pieces in total.
The show, which is co-curated by Beaux Art directors Reg and Patricia Singh, will show sculptural works spanning Frink’s entire career, including a maquette for Risen Christ, alongside ten paintings and drawings.
The show’s centrepiece will be a head from the Desert Quartet series. Uniquely in England, Desert Quartet, from 1990, was given Grade II* listing in 2007, only 17 years since its creation. It is housed opposite Liverpool Gardens in Worthing.
The Desert Quartet pieces were deliberately effervescent in appearance, with Frink leaving intentional chisel marks on the enormous, weighty forms. The series was inspired by Frink’s trip to the Tunisian desert, referencing the enormous sandscapes of the surroundings in its scale and feel.
This was typical of the sculptor’s technique, often working in a highly, almost primitive manner. Initially, Frink often created the forms from plaster, before adding texture with chisels and mallets, creating a tactile, highly distinctive aesthetic that makes work seem human and sensitive, despite its often massive scale.
Frink runs from 5 October – 5 November at Beaux Arts London, 22 Cork Street, London W1S