Friday, April 21, 2006

Ian Rank-Broadley

I was just introduced to the website of this U.K. sculptor, Ian Rank-Broadley. A fellow baby-boomer-- he must have had a lonely struggle pursuing an education, and then launching a career in traditional figure sculpture in the 70's.

One of his career achievements was this profile of the Queen -- now used on coinage.

Her highness looks like a tough old bird -- but I don't think this design rises above the norm for contemporary coinage --- which, probably for technical/bureaucratic reasons never seems to reach the beauty or power of some ancient Roman coins.

Where IRB does challenge the Romans, however, is in his portraits of important men -- and every back-room deal cut by this labor politician can be read on that florid face -- from throat to forehead.

I also like the head of this troubled, virile young man -- a detail studied for a war memorial (and an interesting contrast with the battle-wrecked trench-fighters that populate the memorials made 80 years ago by Charles Sargent Jagger.)

Here's one of his male nudes (titled: "Ganymede") :

I feel the vigour of these pieces -- but also sadness -- and maybe a bit of revulsion -- though not as extreme as the famous British figure painters like Lucian Freud. His figures just don't seem to be happy in their space (the one at the very top is trying to run away from it !)

click here for his website


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