James B. Webster
James Webster (born Suffolk, 1978) received classical training in sculpture in Florence, Italy, where he worked as an apprentice to Marianne Luchetti. Upon his return to the UK, he marked a detachment from these classical roots with the inauguration of his first solo exhibition of contemporary sculpture at the Rivington Gallery (London) in 2008. A desire to plunge even further into anatomy, his passion, drove him to then return to the countryside of Suffolk, Webster’s native region, where he would spend long months isolated in his studio, studying his subjects and not only striving to master the various techniques of ceramics but to also further push the boundaries of his art.
We are lucky enough to be exhibiting part of James’s first exhibition, TROPHIES. TROPHIES is series of anatomically correct porcelain sculptures of animal skulls with their vertebrae resting on a concrete and metal plinth. Inspired by his childhood and an obsession for collecting bones and skulls found in the countryside or in the slaughter house of the surrounding farms, James Webster pushed himself to portray his subjects as accurately as possible. He chose to work with porcelain, a noble and fragile material, to accentuate the preciousness of nature's balance. Fascinated by Egyptian Art, James imagines all the animals he sculpts in the position of the Great Sphinx of Giza.
To realise TROPHIES, James observes real animal skulls and reproduces them in terracotta, adding 20% to their natural size. This model is then chopped into different parts following the natural partition of the skull and a mould of each part is created. Helped by his mother Kit, James prepares the porcelain and pours it into the moulds. When the porcelain drys he puzzles the skull back together and adds the last details with the help of his tools and his fingers. He then puts the sculpture in the kiln. The first firing creates the "biscuit" of the porcelain, the sculpture reduces by 20% and comes back to the size of it's subject. He glazes the teeth and colours the details by oxidising the porcelain with melted iron. The firing can last up to six days depending the size of the animal.
James' sculptures have been exhibited at:
Coll & Cortes (London), Tomasso Brothers (London), Roland Mouret (London), Galerie Chenel (Paris), Deyrolle (Paris), Galerie Desmet (Paris), Galerie Desmet (Bruxelles), YIA #5 (Paris), Daniel Crouch Rare Bokks (London)