For decades Terry Stringer has explored the transformation of abstract ideas into concrete forms, how the figure can occupy space, and the ways in which still forms express movement. His sculptures require the viewer to interact physically with them in order to experience them fully and the eye’s focus shifts and slides over the forms as they elide into one another.
Referencing the conjoined figures of da Vinci’s allegorical drawings, the dual-faced Allegory of Time inextricably links past and future. Despite their self referential gazes, each face flows from the other and the physical characteristics of Stringer’s style emphasise this shape-shifting. That Certain Smile focuses on the face and hands, features which Stringer has explored throughout his practice. Large in scale, the sculpture retains an intimate relationship between each element. The two hands clasp as the view changes between them, this in turn suggesting a caress of the face. Each sculpture appears to be in a state of continual transition, the edges deliberately blurred so that each aspect morphs into another imperceptibly.
Many of Stringer’s sculptures enclose space as well as displace it, establishing a tension between what is there and what is not. The sculptor creates subtle illusions of presence where none physically exist, a characteristic illustrated in A Collage of Features, which reveals a silhouetted profile as the viewer’s perspective shifts back and forth. The lines of this work delineate on one hand the physical volume and mass of the sculptural object and on the other, they describe a form created from the absence of that same object. The dual roles performed by the lines of the bronze reference the duality that lies at the heart of the work: the silhouette is not wholly part of the sculpture, but cannot exist without it; presence and absence are expressed simultaneously.
As the viewer moves around a Terry Stringer sculpture, one form shifts into another and illusory shapes appear and disappear. Stringer presents the familiar in a manner that gives the viewer pause and this exhibition celebrates the ways in which he continues to reinvent the traditional forms of figure sculpting.