Mr A and I hadn’t intended to buy anything when we dropped into the Red Orb sculpture show during a holiday on Dorset’s Isle of Purbeck last summer – but then we didn’t know that we’d run into work by Gabrielle Peskin.
A sculptor of some 20 years standing, Peskin is inspired by human anatomy and her art is a sensual celebration of the physical form. She started out working in wood and stone under the tutelage of John Brown, but now produces everything in plaster, which she builds up on a wire armature in her studio on the Dorset cliff tops. She says that the material suits her since she often starts work with no preconceived sense of how the finished sculpture will look and plaster, unlike clay, can be worked on indefinitely. Once she is satisfied with the shape and finish of a piece, she has a mould made from which the final work is cast – in either stainless steel, bronze or bronze resin.
There were works in each of these media at the show and, while we were certainly tempted by the dramatic stainless-steel bull’s head on its charred wood plinth, it was the rather more gentle and poetic Female Torso (pictured, £1,900) that finally came home with us. Cast in bronze resin – a material that looks like bronze but is lighter and warmer to the touch – it is a gloriously curvaceous and extraordinarily tactile representation of a woman’s back.
After some deliberation (should she go in the sitting room to be viewed by all or in the hallway where she would be rather nicely off-set by a charcoal drawing), we decided to put her in our bedroom, where she catches the evening sunlight and brings us daily pleasure.