22 April - 22 May
The new solo exhibition Drawn Steel by Rob Jones at the Sayle Gallery showcases a new series of large and impressive abstract metal, stone and wood sculptures.
Rob began his working life on a farm in the North of the Island. He subsequently served a traditional apprenticeship in carpentry and joinery and then went on to work in the Island’s building trade for twenty years. He has specialised in the conservation of old buildings.
The son of an artist, Rob has had an interest in art since childhood but has only been actively producing sculpture since 2011. His building and joinery skills have equipped him for working with the materials he uses for his large scale pieces and it is perhaps due to his background that he is most comfortable expressing his ideas in three dimensions.
Rob draws inspiration for his art work from the landscape and industrial heritage of the Isle of Man. Some of his earlier work is quite figurative but more recently Rob has been working with more abstract forms crafted from steel. Through carving and chiselling, he finds forms hidden within natural materials such as wood or stone but when working with metal the sculptures often grow through welding together cut, bent and twisted steel. Some of Rob’s steel forms take on flowing curves or twists which are more usually found in nature. Others use the material in its manufactured form, creating geometric constructs from sheet metal. One piece simply called ‘Twisted’, reflects the twisted and bent metal which might be found in a derelict industrial site but on closer inspection facial features are hinted at perhaps referring to the human involvement in our industrial heritage.
Rob places his sculptures out in the elements where a softening and aging takes place through the natural weathering process. Steel is a hard enduring material but time and weather will eventually oxidise the surface. The resulting rich rust colouring and patterning created by the Manx climate are reminiscent of the metals to be found around the Island in our old industrial sites.
Ideas of fertility and a maleness or femininity are also prevalent in Rob’s work. This is sometimes subtly expressed and sometimes more overtly.
Drawn Steel runs at The Sayle Gallery until Sunday 22 May.