Two hundred and fifty

Ecology

2008 by Antony Gormley
Thomas Williams, London Art Fair 2011; www.antonygormley.com

Ecology features Gormley’s characteristic figuration, an outline of a black and un-committing body. However what is different here is the movement betrayed in this figure’s stance; standing so quietly still, Gormley’s figures are usually tall and unmoving. In Ecology the bent legs, outreached arm and head appear to be searching, betraying an energetic stance of movement; this shadowy outline looks poised for action rather than set in stone. There is a buzz of activity, of life, that surrounds the blurred edges of this shadow, surging it seems out of the body and into the fragmented lines of the marbled effect of the background. They appear as veins of life, as stems of plants and waterways, as cracks sent through rock from the earth’s trembling – they are the same lines of life that Hepburn draws in postcard 249. Like her lines, Gormley’s grow and morph as they explore the composition, spreading in places as ink absorbed into paper – tiny star-like growths that expand delicately. As Gormley places his sculpture in the natural hand of land and sea, he places this figure in a background teeming with the multiplying lines of life. The subtlety of colour, of monotone shadows and dilutions, reinforces the baseness of this state of being that Gormley chooses to depict  – a figure held in the space of natural reaction, a network of ecology.

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