– ARTISTS STATEMENT
me the idea behind a sculpture is paramount, and the methods and
materials chosen to express the idea should be the best available”.
has been a guiding principle in Masons sculpture since his first
professional commissions in the mid 1970’s.
At this time,
pursuing an interest in landscape, the works were monumental constructions
of timber and steel and often incorporated earthworks.
12 at South Hill Park, Bracknell and Tetra for the Scottish
Sculpture Park in Glenshee)
In the 80’s, following
a more specific interest in sunpaths and shadow, stone became a
primary material. After winning a competition to site a large sculpture
in the middle of Bath, skills were acquired from a City and Guilds
course in the city. For a decade Mason worked part time as a conservator
and carver. “This was a good time for me. The continuity of work
enabled me to buy decent equipment and to build a studio. I embarked
on the “Helios” series of sculptures, some of which were speculative
and others commissioned and permanently sited.” (i.e. Helios
XII at Milhamford College in Oxford)
At the end of
the decade Mason was shortlisted for a major watersculpture project
in Birmingham. Although not winning the competition, the experience
of experimenting with water and stone took his work in a new direction.
Indeed for most of the 90’s water became a primary element and the
range of materials used expanded to include copper, bronze and stainless
steel. There were also design collaborations with architects, landscape
architects and structural engineers, which led to a series of realised
and unrealised projects. Sculptures shown in award winning gardens
at Chelsea Flower Show led to a series of national and international
commissions which are ongoing. Public commissions have included
“Half Moon” for Eton College and “Vessica” which stands
outside the Hiscox building in the City of London.
“For the last
5 or so years I have been working virtually back to back on mainly
private commissions. The only down side to this is that I am often
asked to exhibit but rarely have the time to make purely speculative
works. I am aware that I must often miss out on other opportunities
as a result of this but “a bird in hand…” I have also been teaching
less, and am thus relying on commissions for my family income”.
The last few years
have seen the development of yet another phase in Masons work. A
fortunate accident in the studio triggered a series of experiments
using industrial lasers to cut patterns of holes in sheet metal,
which are beyond the skill and accuracy of the human hand. This
has led to a new and ongoing series of sculptures in which solidity
and mass are challenged by light. (i.e. “Second Contact”
at Goodwood and “Octet” in Hamburg).
In 2000 the “Year
of the Artist” initiative enabled Mason to return briefly to stone
carving to make a site specific piece, “Oculus” for the nave
of Hailes Abbey , near Winchcombe, Gloucestershire. “This was a
hugely enjoyable commission, which has led to the possibility to
work for the church.