She Is Love and The Angel’s Ear, installed. 2011 Wood, steel, acrylic. Photo Peter White.
The Angel’s Ear, installed. 2011 Wood, steel. 232 x 388 x 307 cm. Photo Peter White.
The Angel’s Ear, in studio. 2011 Wood, steel. 232 x 388 x 307 cm. Photo Peter White.
Model for The Angel’s Ear and She Is Love. 2010 Wood, aluminium. Height: 28.8 cm. Photo the Artist.
From The Angel’s Ear and She Is Love: New Sculpture by Charles Hewlings, the catalogue introduction by Brendan Prendeville.
’Space has bewildered me’, confesses the angel in Rilke’s poem ‘Annunciation: Words of the Angel’. The Annunciation is the ground motif for this pair of sculptures by Charles Hewlings, as the respective titles imply, although aside from a few subtle figural indications, what we encounter first and last is a pair of abstract sculptures comprising open spatial arrays of (mostly) wood and metal elements. In the poem’s original German, what bewilders the angel is Raum. This is a more apt expression for what sculptors deal with than our ‘space’, in as much as Raum (in its affinity with our ‘room’) evokes the sphere of human action and involvement, the common world, something quite foreign to an angel. A sculpture, however, is no ordinary part of this world, for as a physical, spatial thing meant only for our attention, it is unlike anything else in our surroundings. Rilke himself wrote of the peculiar homeless and incongruous status of the modern sculptural object, reflecting on Rodin, whose works intended for public sites remained stranded in his studio: these objects ‘stand in space: what have they to do with us?’. Unlike ordinary, useful things – or, indeed, traditional monuments – their presence was not self-explanatory.
….The Angel’s Ear and She Is Love may be seen to respond to each other as well as to their physical setting. At their uppermost extremes, both sculptures touch the ceiling of this long, low room, and both are assembled around the columns and girders that pass down the centre. They thus incorporate, and communicate through, the structure in which they stand. I saw them in the artist’s studio, where he had built them around wooden replicas of the N-shaped column / girder formations which will remain parts of them after their in situ showing.”