Thursday, 26 June 2008

Tom Payne - "The Grunts"

Tom Payne graduated from the Kent Institute of art and design in 2000 and has gone on to become a successful self employed sculptor and model maker. His sculptures are generally figurative based and built using coiling techniques in high-grog crank clay.

He says “I concentrate on poise and character rather than realism but like my figure to be easily recognisable and relatable too. My finishing is normally quite rough as I like to show the surface and making-marks such as fingerprints.” Each ‘Grunt’, as Tom calls them, are one-off pieces, however they exist in themes and groupings.

The clay is first rolled into a sausage, making sure each one is roughly the same standing height, before being chopped and bent into their required seated, crouching or standing position. The details are then sculptured into the clay creating the basic shape of the figure together with the posture and hand gestures before further detailing including trouser folds and muscle tone is added. When the sculpture is complete and firing has taken place, the pieces are then quickly smoke-fired with wood chips to a very low temperature which gives the desired finished result.

A finished Grunt can quite happily stand or sit there on his own, but the best visual effect is experienced when they are placed into a group. This gives a fantastic and sometimes quite comical impression that some kind of conversation or debate is taking place between the Grunts.

Tom’s work has been displayed all over the UK as well as being involved in several high profile public art projects since graduating. Most notable of these projects include Tom helping in the construction of the site for ‘Dino Dig’ at the Natural History Museum in 2006. Tom was commissioned to create lifelike clay dinosaur bones that were to be buried in sand, ready for children to excavate during an exhibition at the Museum.

Prior to that In 2005, Tom was commissioned by a recruitment marketing company to make models for the ultimate 'People Brand' at the AHHRM Awards (Association of Healthcare Human Resource Management). The campaign was to brand Whipps Cross University Hospital in London as a Trust that has an exciting future ahead and recognises that their biggest asset going forward is their people.

Models were created based on real-life employees, one from every department within the hospital. Images of Tom’s sculptures were used for advertising posters that were displayed on London buses and taxis, in brochures and on the web. The campaign was well received both internally and externally including helping to win the 'Best Employer Brand' Award itself.

Tom was also involved in an environmental advertising campaign that was aired on MTV in 2007. He was asked to create a Polar Bear mould to be used as an animation for the television adverts aired on the channel through Spring of that year.

The sculptures by Tom Payne are on show for the first time in Scotland at Artery Gallery in both St Andrews and Crieff, and can also be viewed online at

Saturday, 21 June 2008

The Lie of the Land - Aerial Abstract Landscape Paintings by Peter Davenport

("Field Patterns, Holkham" by Peter Davenport)

Peter Davenport was born in England in 1931 to a French mother and Anglo/Scots father. Peter followed his father into the army and just like his father, eventually became a highly ranked officer himself. With the army being a major part of his early life, this meant moving around the country was common practice without settling anywhere for any great length of time. Eventually Peter moved to Perthshire and has been living there now since 1962.

After his time with the Army he studied drawing and painting at the Edinburgh College of Art.

During the 1970`s Peter went on to teach Photography at the Edinburgh College of Art and has worked in various branches of this field since then. With photography always being a huge passion of Peter’s, he bases many of his semi-abstract paintings on his collection of aerial photographs of the landscape below.

Combining the two different viewpoints of the landscape from above and from looking across the horizon, Peter Davenport’s contemporary oil paintings have developed into a very distinctive style unique to himself.

His latest series of works are of the coast line and patchwork-like field patterns of the North Norfolk coast. With this particular area of East Anglia striking a chord with Peter’s consciousness, the outcome of his paintings of Holkham tide line are full of passion and emotion with a vibrant mix of green and brown hues working with, as apposed to conflicting with, the sharp blue tones.

He has held various solo shows including those at the renowned Richard Demarco Gallery in Edinburgh and with the English Speaking Union. His paintings hang in collections across the United Kingdom, in Canada, France, Germany, Denmark and the U.S.A.

Peter Davenport now exhibits exclusively all year round at Artery Gallery in both Crieff and St Andrews where his oil on board paintings of landscapes and geometric abstracts continue to be well received by new, as well as existing collectors of his work.

His works can also be viewed on the Artery Gallery website at