Full-time Visual Arts student, Jane Fremantle, has recently exhibited two hand-carved stone sculptures in the main house at West Dean College. The two sculptures consist of a base of polyphant surmounted by carved alabaster. The first piece to be carved was made with direct reference to the form and structure of a bird’s wing. The work then developed into a series of pieces exploring the energy and dynamism of flight, leading to a second piece made in reference to the ascending elegance of a stairwell in the West Wing of West Dean House. Ahead of the exhibition, Jane experimented with various sites and positions for the work before finally settling on two locations. Firstly, a marble column set amongst the opulent Edwardian décor of the Tapestry Corridor. Secondly, a deep windowsill halfway up the stairwell of the West Wing – the oldest part of West Dean House. In contrast to the grandeur of the State Rooms, the West Wing is understated – a possible reflection on it being the former heart of the family home. The sculpture’s wing-like form elegantly captures both the vertical and forward forces of a bird in flight, whilst playfully referencing the contrasting character within different areas of the House.
Jane’s two stone carvings, titled East and West, will be re-exhibited in the Old Dairy as part of the West Dean Visual Arts Summer Show. Here they will form part of a wider body of work that explores manifestations of energy in nature through sculpture, installation and site-specific intervention. Using materials as diverse as soapstone, alabaster, concrete, Perspex, water, slate, plaster and paint, Jane’s work aims to distil forces both visible and invisible. This work includes Winterbourne, a site-specific installation for the Spring Gardens at West Dean.
Following the Summer Show, the two sculptures will again be exhibited in the main house at West Dean, and will be on display during the Open House in September 2014