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Wycliffe Stutchbury

Wood: growth patterns

Elements: wood metal 

Jean Arp loved nature's forms because he felt that nature bucked modern society’s over-dependence on reason.


Wycliffe’s work is a struggle between our desire to impose form on the natural world and its unwillingness to conform. The natural world corrupts, distorts and discolours man's need to contain, edit and suppress it.  He attempts to apply his own structure through design, concentration and technical skill, but during the repetitive process of constructing a piece there is human error.  His mind drifts, he is indecisive, he makes mistakes, he can’t maintain a straight line or a perfect curve. The result is an intuitive way of working that allows the wood he has before him to lead the way, like stacking firewood.  The structure needs to hold together but it finds its own rhythm.  


Reluctantly, Wycliffe has learnt to allow timber to express itself without the constraints and distractions of form or function.  Often in design, the beauty within a tree, and the story it has to tell, comes secondary to a predetermined plan.  He endeavours to maintain an open mind, to allow the timber to suggest its own use, presentation and format, to reveal the qualities and narrative held within the wood. The passing of time is so clearly expressed in its annual rings and the environment and conditions it has grown in are shown in the qualities of the timber when it is revealed - the grain, it’s direction, it’s faults, texture, density, colour, inconsistencies.


His compositions from fallen and forgotten timber are studies in the narrative beauty of wood, and the origin of the material he uses is central to his work. Each piece is named after the place where the timber was found, and made exclusively from this material. The machining of the timber is a careful editing process. Cutting in order to display particular qualities and removing distracting ones. What he is left with provides him with his medium, his ‘paint’; a restricted palette with which to describe the landscape. 

The finished piece is always an exploration of landscape; an observation of its folds and contours, its valleys, peaks and ridges.  It is also about land mass, the ground, geology - what lies beneath the surface.

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