Spectacular outdoor sculpture to spruce up gardens for summer

Fresh Air in the Cotswolds features talking-point pieces inspired by particle physics

Alison Berman's Figure Fountain Three, £15,000
Alison Berman's Figure Fountain Three, £15,000

Stone, glass, ceramics, mosaics, metal, resin, rubber, textiles and video. All feature in the eye-catching exhibits at this year’s Fresh Air show (June 11-July 2), a Cotswolds showcase of outdoor sculpture (£38,000-£65,000) that champions the challenging and contemporary over the traditional.

Alison Crowther The Charred Pod 1 & 11, from £2,300
Alison Crowther The Charred Pod 1 & 11, from £2,300
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Smaller-scale sculptures will appear alongside monumental pieces at this 13th iteration of the biennial show, with the inspiration for the works having come from diverse and unexpected sources. Science fiction sparked Karen Tang’s conceptual, mixed-media piece The Paradise Syndrome (£4,950), while Richard Farrington’s circular, mild steel Excentrifical (£4,200) references particle physics. More bucolically, the river Coln – which runs through the five-acre gardens hosting the show – prompted Alison Berman to spend a year developing Figure Fountain Three (£15,000), a working fountain comprising three sculptural forms made from bronze resin.

Richard Farrington's Excentrifical, price on request
Richard Farrington's Excentrifical, price on request
 Simon Hempsell's Cow Parsley sculptures, from £39
Simon Hempsell's Cow Parsley sculptures, from £39

Of the 92 exhibiting artists, more than 30 will be Fresh Air debutants, including Jeni Cairns, whose decorative Enclosure (£3,900) is made from corten steel; Beth Forrester, whose Belle (£13,850) is a large-scale fantasy figure made from galvanised steel and wire; and Simon Hempsell, whose attenuated Cow Parsley sculptures (£39-£110) are inspired by seed-heads.

Beth Forrester's Belle, £13,850
Beth Forrester's Belle, £13,850
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Other highlights include Jenny Pickford’s beguiling Butterfly Effect (£6,200), which unites galvanised forged steel with blown glass, while Inhale Exhale (£44,000), a collaboration between Richard Jackson and Sally Fawkes, is made from cast optical glass and stainless steel. Alison Crowther’s otherwordly The Charred Pod 1 & 11 (£2,300 and £2,800) were created from a storm-felled acacia tree in the Fresh Air gardens, while Alison Munby used Guiting limestone from a local Cotswold quarry for her Banksia (£6,500).

There is still space for more traditional work, too, such as Tessa Campbell Frazer’s life-size red Highland stag in bronze (£65,000), Rachel Rickets’ life-size Beowulf wild boar (£2,650) in iron polymer resin with a rust patina, and Jitka Palmer’s endearing Flautist (£1,300), sculpted from Bath stone.

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