Images from Philip Blacker event at Chatham House on 12th June 2014.

A selection of works that will be shown during the full exhibition at Thompson's Gallery London from 5th - 16th November 2014

Thanks and gratitude goes to all the staff and event organisers at Chatham House. The event was organized by International Affairs, the Chatham House Journal - part of the cultural events programme commemorating the Great War - organized by the International Affairs editorial team, led by its editor Caroline Soper - an enormous thanks for their exceptional work and faultless production. Thanks also goes to the Director of Chatham House, Dr Robin Niblett, for his thoroughly engaging and insightful speech at the reception. With additional thanks to Heidi Pettersson for photography and all involved with the event's inception and faultless organisation - a great success.

PHILIP BLACKER - 'Farewell Leicester Square' - An exhibition of bronze friezes - a perspective from one hundred years on.
5th – 16th November 2014

Thompson's Gallery London has the honour of presenting, on the centenary of the beginning of WWI, this sensitive and astonishing tribute of bronze friezes by renowned sculptor Philip Blacker.

Philip Blacker, born in 1949 and educated in Dorset, became a jockey on leaving school and rode professionally for 13 years. After being placed in the Grand National on several occasions and riding 340 winners, he retired in 1982 to concentrate full time on sculpture. Since then, Blacker has carried out countless commissions and successfully exhibited with London galleries, this time the entire exhibition of bronze friezes related to the subject of World War One will be held at Thompson's Gallery.

Inspired by poems, letters, songs and books from World War One, sculptor Philip Blacker's strikingly original bronze friezes are a highly personal interpretation of the words of the people who were really there.

To do this he has created a compelling new concept in bronze sculpture. His interpretation involves friezes which are essentially scenes from life in 1914 and then cast in fragments of metal, as if from a larger picture. Colour is integral to the composition to give the pieces intensity and depth and this is achieved by the traditional method of heating the bronze and applying chemicals and dyes. However the colours he achieves are anything but traditional and contain a subtle unpredictability that do not just enhance the sculpture, as most patinas do, but are fundamental to the work.

This fusion of colour and the three dimensional compliment the subject they depict. The colouring process involves a spectacular visual process, after the work has been cast.

A few examples of these bronze friezes are attached which illustrate the intense diversity the sculptor has achieved in this unique interpretation.

"The inspiration for my WW1 friezes come from a variety of sources. A couple are inspired by paintings, notably by CRW Nevinson and Paul Nash, but mostly they come from poems, letters, songs and books. These words allowed my imagination to perceive them through the medium of my bas relief panels. They may well not be an accurate depiction, that is not really the point. They are just my interpretation, inspired by the words of those who were there. I have not focussed on the tragedy of the war itself, that having been well chronicled, but more of life behind the lines. Where the front line has been depicted it is usually in a moment of reflection.
The bronze friezes have been coloured with the application of chemicals and dyes applied to the hot bronze, which I believe gives them a unique and random quality. Unlike painted bronze sculpture which, in my opinion, is essentially two art forms in conflict and competition with each other, these patinated bronze friezes are a union, bringing colour and depth to the work while complimenting the underlying form. Only three will be cast from each mould, but every one of them is essentially a one off as the patination on all of them are deliberately different".

PHILIP BLACKER: Farewell, Leicester Square at Thompson's Gallery