Christopher Marvell: Sculpture
exhibition of new bronze sculptures by Christopher Marvell,
centring on the artist's observations of the natural world.
‘My sculptures have a quiet English-based quality of man and nature in the way that we hear countryside through Britton or Vaughan Williams.’
Christopher Marvell was born in 1964 and grew up in Clacton before studying at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (1982-6). In Newcastle Marvell was influenced by the British Bauhaus of Victor Pasmore and Richard Hamilton. Later Marvell moved to Cambridge and began working in a studio at Fulbourn Manor with artist and designer Majorie Townley. In Cambridge Marvell met his future partner Elaine Pamphilon with whom he bought a 400 year old house which they set about renovating.
When he first began working with bronze, Marvell built a low-tech foundry in his studio with half an oil drum and a small pot. He quickly became enamoured with the alchemical process involved in casting with 1100 degree molten bronze. His sculptures begin as drawings, before maquettes are made, fixed in plaster and then realised in bronze. Speaking about his work, he has said that ‘making bronze sculpture is a ridiculous, long winded and expensive process, but the end result is worth all the effort’. When the National Trust invited Marvell to organise an exhibition of sculpture at the Capability Brown landscape at Wimpole Hall, he took the opportunity to include work by Lynne Chadwick and Kenneth Armitage alongside his own.
Despite working primarily in Cambridge, Marvell spends considerable amounts time at his home in St Ives. Daily walks in the countryside with Pamphilon have informed his sculpted animals and he frequently looks to Cornish history and the environment as source material. With rich imagery gathered from the natural world, Marvell produces sculpted bronzes with a concise linearity and elemental fluidity informed by the heritage of the Modernist masters of the St Ives School.
Marvell has exhibited in London, Edinburgh and throughout the UK. His work is held in public and private collections nationwide.