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Oxfordshire Artweeks 2020

‘Horses, Hounds & Country Wildlife’ Art Trail

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Tash Noel

In their daily art trail, the virtual Oxfordshire Artweeks festival today explore the animals of the British countryside: from horses, hounds and to the bird and the bees.

Artweeks artist Aline Stanway is best known for her ceramic horses – sculptures really - that stand around twelve inches tall from ears to ground.

‘What interests me most,’ she explains, ‘is working on their form; finding that balance between making the horses muscles and bones as true as possible whilst keeping their energy and dynamism. Originally, I studied art and specialised in extremely-detailed drawings of birds: now I revel in the flexibility, tactile qualities and 3 dimensions of clay. It’s very different.’

‘I grew up on the edge of common land, and spent much time around horses. It seems I just absorbed a tactile memory of horse form; the shape of a horse’s shoulder bones under your hands, the long thin bones beneath the head as you put a bridle on and its velvety nose. Living in South Oxford, you don’t have to go far to see a varied groups of horses, often with foals, near the river, drifting their way across the fields.’

‘Firstly I made horses with and without wings - almost wanting to see if they could really fly! - then horses with riders who talked into their ears. Drawing and photographing horses, I noticed the amazing sculptural shape and movability of a horse’s ear: their ears began to morph into shells which also have layers of meanings in myth, religion and ceremony. More recently I’ve looked at Tang Dynasty horses, the ‘Heavenly Horses’ which came from across the silk road and unlike the previous steppe ponies, had long elegant legs – such a challenge in clay!’

Aline handbuilds each piece, mostly using a grey stoneware clay, working from sketches from life, photographs and books – especially Stubbs “Anatomy of the Horse” –first published in 1766 – ‘as rich a resource now, as it was then!’

Artist Jane Tomlinson introduces some of her new paintings https://www.artweeks.org/galleries/2020/jane-tomlinson

For more, visit: https://www.artweeks.org/festival/theme/horses-hounds-and-country-wildlife

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