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A sculpture show with something for the young ones

This garden sculpture exhibition ranges from the stunning to the surreal

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A sculpture show with something for the young ones

June 13 2011
Vicki Reeve

I don’t often find myself considering spending £300 on a bunch of bananas. But when they are spangly coloured resin fruits designed to dangle outside – perhaps off the fig tree? – they appeal to my surreal streak. And they look fabulous (third picture).

LoveBid’s Bananas are just some of the sculptures on show at this year’s Fresh Air biennial in the Cotswolds (from Saturday June 19), the goal of which is “the promotion of contemporary art to enhance gardens of all sizes and character”. More than 100 artists are exhibiting at the idyllic riverside garden of Quenington Old Rectory in Cirencester. Many of the works are in zesty colours – the latest trend in garden sculpture, as reported by How To Spend It in March. While Patricia Volk’s bright Blue Head (second picture, £1,500) might sound startling, it’s arresting in all the right ways: ceramic and mounted on Welsh slate, this Modigliani-style beauty is bathed in serenity.

For the more conservative visitor – those who, aside from natural flora, find the idea of vivacious colour (and knitted bridges) in the garden a step too far – there is plenty to appeal. See, for example, Cara Wessenberg’s stunning Leaf Globe II with forged-copper leaf forms (first picture, £3,750), or Terence Coventry’s appealing, figurative New Riders in bronze.

Prices range from £20 to £60,000. But if anyone in your party is lucky enough to be aged under 18, they might be interested to hear about the ECCO scheme (Encouraging Children to Collect Objects). Each exhibitor has been asked to donate a working sketch or model, which they will sell to young people only, at a very reasonable £10 to £60. It could be just the thing to get the kids away from the PlayStation and out into the fresh air.