Suffolk-based member of the Royal Society of British Sculptors Brian Alabaster is one of the country’s leading figurative sculptors. His work, produced mainly in bronze comprises portraiture – particularly of children – as well as various natural objets. All of these are modelled from life. Finished pieces are to be found in private and some public collections and are avidly collected by an increasingly enthusiastic and discerning clientele.
Alabaster finds his inspiration from a variety of sources: the countryside, natural rock or fossil formations and ancient classic ceramics. But it is his love of the human form that has produced, and continues to inform, his most favoured and most collected works. A father of three sons, the earliest of his sculptures featured his own children, and these have remained constant favourites both of the artist and his audience. As an example, Dickie and Sam is characteristically full of a gentle but powerful, utterly engaging and beautiful pathos. Its subjects are caught as is if by a sideways glance – unselfconsciously relaxed, entirely natural and at ease; serenity positively radiates from the piece. This sense of calm and of beauty is entirely typical of not only the artist’s earliest work, but is a recurrent thematic in his current commissions.
This communication of both the emotion and of the physical state of his subjects infuses Alabaster’s every piece. Like still-life photography, the bronzes often represent the capture of a hundredth-of-a-second in time; girl with a hockey stick and Florence Dancing typify this theme. Both show the subjects’ youthful power and athleticism whilst simultaneously imparting a sense of harnessed power, of balance and of poise.
In private and public gardens, in the home, or in corporate spaces Alabaster’s work is finding its audience.As regular exhibitor at the RHS Chelsea flower show, and with exhibitions in Cork Street, Europe and North America, his works are greatly in demand, with both private and corporate commissions taking much of his time. Alabaster undertakes every stage of production himself, from modelling the clay maquettesto the final casting in moulten metal. It is perhaps this dedication to his craft that distinguishes his works, and will ensure that they continue to be admired, collected and loved for generations to come.
This article first appeared in Art Investormagazine, and is reproduced by kind permission of the author, who retains copyright.
Interview on BBC Radio with Lesley Dolphin part on
Interview on BBC Radio with Lesley Dolphin part two