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Begbie David

Begbie David

David Begbie discovered the particular properties of steelmesh as an art student in 1977. Since then his work has been exhibited globally and has been an enormous inspiration to many people, including architects, designers, photographers, world of theatre and dance and collectors as well as to other artists and his work has been imitated and copied worldwide. He is the master of his medium and his work speaks for itself. The mesh is transparent – 90% thin air, yet it has a much greater physical presence than any conventional solid form. Begbie’s skill, perception, understanding and...

David Begbie discovered the particular properties of steelmesh as an art student in 1977. Since then his work has been exhibited globally and has been an enormous inspiration to many people, including architects, designers, photographers, world of theatre and dance and collectors as well as to other artists and his work has been imitated and copied worldwide. He is the master of his medium and his work speaks for itself. The mesh is transparent – 90% thin air, yet it has a much greater physical presence than any conventional solid form. Begbie’s skill, perception, understanding and imagination are succinctly and economically contained within the confines of the simple shell that constitutes his sculpture. Look again closely and you see that there is not even a skin, only a graphic delineation of one. In relation to the space it occupies, the catalytic effect a Begbie sculpture has, in any setting, given that it has no palpable substance or surface, is phenomenal. “Each work is an entity which has a far greater physical presence than any solid object could possibly have because it has the power to suggest that it doesn’t exist.” The introduction of strategic lighting as an integral part of a particular composition has the most remarkable result where the combination of two and three dimensions, with the use of projected shadows, produces an optical fusion of image and object. The preoccupation with the human form as his subject stems from an early age, the fascination for reproducing figurative bodies in steelmesh has developed extensively. David Begbie achieves fine sculpting detail of musculature and an aesthetic completness of human form which has even been compared to Michelangelo and in particular Rodin, even though his subject is often that of the partial or truncated figure. David Begbie‘s latest sculpture is figurative in a completely different sense. His flag sculptures such as ‘MBLEM‘ and ‘UNTIED KINGDOM‘ venture towards abstraction but remain recognisable as a subject. His most recent sculptures however such as ‘CIRRUS‘, ‘CUMULUS‘ and ‘ARIOS DIPTYCH‘ have reference to cloud forms and air but appear purely abstract in their rendition. These sculptures focus on the dynamic optical qualities of the material itself and its interaction with specific or ambient light in suspended space. For the viewer the bronzemesh material has intrigue yet is somehow familiar. On looking further you discover the properties of the medium – the white-painted mesh creates a liveliness and sense of movement that is further enhanced by the use of shadow play created with strategic lighting. You have to touch a Begbie to make sure what is real and what is a shadow (see image above).

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