Buried in Tombland
Presenting an exciting exhibition of work by Telfer Stokes, a major East Anglian artist whose muscular sculptures hewn from industrial off-cuts evoke a verbose bravado and yet hint at a softer dimension through the artist's choice of colour, and witty use of an oft-forgotten medium: titles. Each sculpture can be viewed as an appreciation of texture, form and structure, but beholding the greater work, one can see the same concerns uniting all works into a coherent and comprehensive whole.
Works that fall short of Stokes’ incisive self-critique or over time take on a conceptual change in the artist’s mind are returned to the studio, torn asunder and like Proteus, are reborn as something quite new. That Stokes works from the corpses of forgotten industry, behemoths of human endeavour wrought to nothing by time and neglect should be borne in mind. Stokes is merciless in his self-appraisal, constantly adjusting, tinkering and reconsidering pieces even as they hang. Comeback, to give an example has been subject to a number of rounds of death and rebirth. Pieces that are not subject to literal, physical reinvention still endure conceptual metamorphosis, with Morriconeish being raised from the ashes of I2D and the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. The apparent fastness of Stokes’ pieces, verbose, grandiose and statuesque belies this tendency for reinvention and the quest for improvement. Likewise, Stokes’ use of materials: always found, never painted. Arranged, machined and set, finished but still unperfected reflects a quite profound understanding of the lyrical nature of life, and the tendency for all things to move, change, and move again.
This major solo show celebrates Telfer Stokes' many years of practice, and continued successes in the eastern region and beyond.