Acanthus, asymmetrically, refers to a new work made by Wilding for the Offer Waterman gallery’s entrance hall in London and is inspired by the building’s heritage as the former headquarters of William Morris & Co.
This site-specific wall piece; comprising hand-printed wallpaper with sculptural element attached, translates and re-imagines the Acanthus motif of Morris, rendered with a deliberate asymmetry, typical of Wilding’s sculpture.
Wilding’s work is held in numerous public collections worldwide and she is recognised as one of the most important sculptors of her generation. Her work has been shown at the Serpentine Gallery and MoMA NY, and in three survey exhibitions at the Tate, including the Duveen Galleries in 2013 and a retrospective at Tate Liverpool in 1991.
The exhibition at Offer Waterman’s Mayfair gallery includes 12 new and recent sculptures, alongside a selection of works on paper and prints.
Richard Cork, in his book, New Spirit, New Sculpture, New Money; Art in the 1980s, neatly encapsulates the enduring appeal of this understated but mercurial artist; ‘a wealth of complex relationships can be uncovered in Wilding’s deceptively muted work by anyone patient enough to look’.
Whilst she is known for the broad range of materials she has used in her sculpture, apparently delighting in the tension between hard and soft, transparent and opaque etc. Wilding pragmatically refutes that materiality is a significant driver in her work, stating: ‘I’m not obsessed with materials and if I have used a huge variety over the years it’s because there’s lots of it freely available in the world. I don’t believe in a hierarchy of materials. All materials, however mundane, can be transformed’.
Publication accompanies the exhibition, Alison Wilding: Acanthus, asymmetrically at Offer Waterman, London (26 May – 21 June 2017).