The importance of sculpture

In recent years sculpture has become a much more prominent art form, thanks to a number of works by artists such as Antony Gormley (Iron Men at Crosby Beach and The Angel of the North).

One of the reasons why sculpture has become popular again is because it is much more engaging. Viewing a sculpture is very different than seeing a flat painting hanging on a wall. You can walk around it, look through it, over it or into it. People are also fascinated by how sculpture is created. From the classic statue of David by Michelangelo to the modern art sculptures adorning parks and gardens, a variety of materials are used, portraying a vast range of ideas and images.

Sculptors have moved beyond using stone, wood, marble and bronze. Almost anything and everything can be used to create a work of art. Some artists are now making use of a 3D printer to create what they need for their work.

As an art form, sculpture has the ability to evolve and change and over the centuries has moved from the classic to the abstract. In the 20th century there have been a number of different movements in the sculpting world. For example, in the early part of the 50s, there was a movement known as the Geometry of Fear, while in the 60s there was the New Generation. In the 1980s there was the New British Sculpture and in the 90s the new wave of sculptors was referred to as the Young British Artists. These movements focused on British artists and tended to ignore what was happening in the sculpting world as a whole.

Despite all this it is only in the last few years that a UK prize for sculptors has been established. The biennial award is the Hepworth prize for sculpture and it is awarded to a UK artists who has contributed to the sculpting world.