Lawrence Dicks, Breathe



Lawrence Dicks’ new sculptures are concerned with the experience of being alive.  The title of this body of work, Breathe, originates in an observation of his own breath. Lawrence describes a cold November walk on Climping beach near his home in West Sussex, how he was conscious of the process of walking, heel to toe, heel to toe, breathing the cold, cold air and noticing this shape, this great plume of smoke as his breath became vapour and was gone. The bronzes, Breathe 1-5 capture this momentary state. Is it possible to freeze a moment, to capture a memory in physical form, is it possible to know what breath looks like. 


The stone works No Recollection and Until Now also connect to Lawrence’s home in Sussex and his immediate surroundings; beach pebbles, rocks and sea. The painstaking carving of the Portland stone is reminiscent of familiar shapes, holes left from pebbles, the semi-circular dent left in the sand by the tread of a foot. There are thousands of these indentations which create a surface that will never be stilled. The surface responds to natural light with everchanging shadows and a tessellation of light, a little reminiscent of the sun on the sea, the rays forever projecting outward. The engraved lines traced into the stone by the tools used by the artist are delicate, they feel like drawn lines. Drawing is part of Lawrence’s practice and helps him to understand space, space that he is often trying to ‘empty’.


Lawrence talks about the ‘manipulation of stuff’, but the ‘stuff’ he is referring to is his all-important materials that are critical to the success of the work. Lawrence has invested a great deal of time and research into what ‘stuff’ works best for expressing this work. Out of Mind I & II are made with stone from Broadmoor Prison. This indicates how important the material is in delivering the message. Why are we alive? And what is it like?


An experienced collector of sculpture, who has been working closely with Lawrence on the creation of a series of works for his private estate, when describing Lawrence’s work says, “Lawrence’s work appealed to me because of its organic familiarity and sense of natural balance. It does not feel forced but has a presence that I can relate to and that I like to see in a space or landscape, perhaps slightly out of place, which draws your attention to it but at the same time feels appropriate and comforting.”


Lawrence Dicks studied at the University of Plymouth Exeter, under the tuition of influential teachers including John Virtue, Nina Saunders, Neville Gabie and Turner prize nominee Vong Phaophanit. The program was conceptual, visual and creative.  He knew early on that sculpture would be his medium, enjoying the physicality involved. At University he was inspired by some of the great sculptors of the 20th century; Hepworth, Moore, Brancusi. The work of Peter Randall-Page, David Nash and Richard Long were inspirational to him, as he began his own practice.