Anatomy of Colour by Sarah Emily Porter

Winner of the Judges Prize, Broomhill Art & Sculpture

Art in the garden has freedoms and challenges. We have to expect nature to intervene: the elements will work upon the piece long after the artist has put down her tools.  

Anatomy of Colour sculpture with thistle

Sarah Emily Porter’s Anatomy of Colour has a permanent home in an English flower meadow. Vistors approach through the grasses and flowers along a narrow path mown to a clearing, a few metres wider than the sculpture, encouraging all round access. It would have been possible to clear the ground underneath the framework, setting the artwork on a plinth. This more enlightened approach allows living plants to become part of the artist’s palette.

Flowers and grasses flourish within the boundaries of the sculpture, softening its lines, colour blocks and angles – so far as thistles can be said to soften anything, that is! I’d love to see a year’s worth of images to understand how autumn and winter interact with the sculpture.

Eight trellis squares, fashioned from timber fixed in different geometrical patterns, are spaced out to create a layered cube. Each slice is finished in a period shade of exterior gloss paint – red, green, yellow, cream, pink and various blues – in homage to the Victorian heritage of the Broomhill Art Hotel.

Anatomy of Colour (side view)

Walking round the sculpture gives a sensation of playing cat’s cradle with an object that doesn’t move. Add in the life and movement of the meadow flowers and we have a kinetic-static piece that alters as the wind blows and the viewer’s perspective changes.

We can forget capturing anything but a filtered moment in a photograph for light is an actor in all this too, muting the colours, sharpening their contrasts and skewing their values as the day progresses. Still, I had to try.

Anatomy of Colour sculpture in a meadow at Broomhill Sculpture Garden

Anatomy of Colour became part of the Broomhill Art & Sculpture Foundation collection after winning the judges’ 2018 National Sculpture Prize.

To see more of Sarah Emily Porter’s work, visit her website or follow her on Instagram.

Shared as part of Becky’s July Squares

32 Replies to “Anatomy of Colour by Sarah Emily Porter”

    1. I could imagine your kitties having a field day with this – or do you have them trained to accord Art the respect it deserves?

      1. I think the kitties would love it. They have no more respect for art than anything else. If they can play, scratch, climb and lie on it, regardless of it’s artistic value, it’s fair game for the kitties as far as they are concerned.

    1. Not far away on a hillside in the sculpture garden there is a wooden link sculpture that is on the verge of being subsumed, and looks great for that!

    1. I had a moment or two of wondering whether I had the colours sufficiently true to life until I realised that true to life could be almost anything, depending on cloud cover and the time of the day. Even a paint card has the same limitations.

  1. What a lesson in patience for an observer! Not only from season to season but from minute to minute this will change. Just like a regular garden but with attitude. I feel a kind of dare with it: a dare to see a whole. That wouldn’t happen for me — I think I’d always see it in parts. Your word “slice” sums it up. Thanks for taking us there!

    1. I suppose you can only ever see the whole of this from one direction, which kind of rules out your view ever being of the whole. It would have to be a mind’s eye view where perspective didn’t predominate… better pull back from that thought. I think my mind is going to explode!

  2. what fun . . .and love the fact there are blue squares in the sculpture as well as being photographed in square 🙂

  3. What a lovely piece of art and description of it. It’s wonderful that the keepers let the grasses grow within the frame. I particularly liked your close up images showing off the intersecting lines—very nice!

    1. It was fascinating close up. It’s surprising that the colours are based on Victorian standards – they have such a contemporary flavour. Perhaps that’s the result of a contemporary mind engaging with the colours, or perhaps the contemporary approach isn’t as far out as it sometimes feels.

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