Artist Laura’s Bedtime Boy goes on show
THE Atkinson is displaying its newest acquisition, Bedtime Boy 1, by artist Laura Ford as part of a major exhibition.
Why Look At Animals examines how our relationship with animals has changed and features a wide range of animal paintings and sculptures by leading British artists from the past 200 years.
The purchase of the new sculpture was funded by the Friends of The Atkinson and grants from The Art Fund and the ACE/V&A Purchase Grant Fund.
Stephen Whittle, museum and gallery manager, said: “Bedtime Boy 1 is a piece that attracts people with varying engagement in the arts, and is enjoyed by everyone.
“This piece attracts a contemporary audience and we hope it will inspire a new generation of visitors into the Galleries.
“It will feature in future collections-based displays that examine the variety of technical means open to artists as well as the range of emotions that their work can evoke.
“We are delighted with the new piece and already we have had a fantastic response from the visitors and the staff who have taken him in as one of their own.”
As a child, Ford travelled the fairground circuit and spent a great deal of her childhood at her grandmother’s farm, which had once been a zoo and contained a wide variety of animals.
These early influences played a large part in her development as an artist. As art student she created a “menagerie” of animal sculptures and she has continued to create work centred on anthropomorphised animals and children.
Ford said Bedtime Boy is “standing stock still, like a statue in slippers and pyjamas, over which he is wearing a dressing gown. His posture is one of expectancy, both arms behind his back, with a quizzical incline to his head”.
As with many of her animals, the elephant has no facial features.
His character and personality is conveyed entirely from his posture underlining the fact that Ford is essentially a figurative sculptor – whether the figure itself is human or not.
Inspired by Surrealism and film culture, she cites David Lynch, Jean Cocteau and Werner Herzog as key influences, and mixes humour with melancholy and a sense of menace.
She is particularly interested in the theme of looking or being looked at, with many of her human or anthropomorphic figures trying to conceal their faces or disguise themselves as trees and animals.
Her work is playful, but also addresses a range of social and political issues; her figures often seem isolated or distanced from society.
Elephant Boy 1 will be on display in the exhibition Why Look At Animals until March 2018.
Bedtime Boy 1 by Laura Ford is on show in the Galleries at The Atkinson