ART REVIEW: Alison Wilding at The Whitworth Art Gallery

Of all this summer’s exhibitions at the Whitworth Art Gallery, with the exception of Isaac Julien’s, this was the one I was most interested in seeing. I knew nothing about Alison Wilding’s work but I was keen on expanding my knowledge of sculpture, an art form I feel I know the least about. I’m always keen to educate myself about new artists so whenever I hear about an exhibition by an artist I’m unfamiliar with I try to make the time to see them. One thing I always refrain from doing is any research on them beforehand, preferring instead to experience their wok without any context or preconceptions. I like the work alone to guide me.

Wildings pieces in the exhibition span the past 20 years of her career and mix materials such as wood, metal, stone and steel to create some incredibly striking sculpture.  

Disposition (author’s own image)

The first piece you see as you enter is her 1999 piece called Disposition, a circular piece of concrete perched precariously on its side in front of a carpet of pieces of rubber jutting from the ground. At any moment the concrete could topple and flatten it. There’s a real contrast in colour and texture.  

In a Dark Wood (author’s image)

I was completely mesmerised by her second work entitled In a Dark Wood (2012), the title of which is taken from the opening lines of Dante’s Inferno. In the middle of the sculpture we see something is either trapped or concealed amongst the reclaimed laminated iroko wood. This is the first time In a Dark Wood has been displayed publicity and was my favourite from this exhibition. What is revealed here is just as important as what is concealed. 

Largo (2002), her third sculpture in the exhibition displayed a series of flowers, the delicacy we associate with them turned on its head by the fact they are made of concrete. Yet again Wilding is offering us a view of nature through it’s contrasts. Yes, they’re abstract and unusual but also visually interesting to look at and examine. This one in particular made me reconsider the world around me and look at it in a different way. 

Largo (author’s image)

After I went away I did some research on the artist, I learnt that Wilding is currently one of the most prominent sculptors in Britain. She’s been nominated for the Turner Prize and is a member of the Royal Academy. It’s not difficult to see why her work has become so popular.  

Alison Wilding’s exhibition has been showing at The Whitworth gallery since 16th February and will be on display until the 12th August 2018. Entry is free and to find out more head over to The Whitworth Art Gallery’s page:

If you enjoyed this review then you might like to read my recent review of another Turner Prize nominated artist’s exhibition that’s currently showing at HOME in Manchester. The artist is Phil Collins and the exhibition is called, Can’t Do Right For Doing Wrong: Art Review: Phil Collins at HOME

2 Replies to “ART REVIEW: Alison Wilding at The Whitworth Art Gallery”

  1. I completely agree. What I love about places like the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester Art Gallery and HOME is the vast majority if not all the exhibitions are free which gives people from all walks of life the opportunity to enjoy all the art and culture Manchester has to offer.

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