The Ledge, 2017
This crystalline modernist architectural composition, echoing the white cliffs between Folkestone and Dover, supports figures of an Inuit and a seal, and sits on a black puddle shape. Sited by the shore, the strong horizontals suggest the rising water level resulting from the disappearing polar ice caps, an iceberg melting into a pool of oil. The human figure and its ecological counterpart, the seal, represent an ancient way of life, standing on thin ice.
Climate change, and its effect on people who are on the front line, or at the edge of that change, has been a preoccupation of Woodrow for many years. From the start, his artworks made use of ‘secondary’ materials (human artefacts) as raw materials. In this way he was a composer of narratives through using the existing vocabulary of the industrialised world. When he began to cast his sculptures in bronze in the 1990s, the trajectory of his work remained unchanged: the bronzes would very often be composed of industrially produced objects arranged to create a legible narrative. A deep interest in the history of humanity as well as the history of the natural world unsurprisingly led him to express his concern for the impact of human activity on the environment and ecology, and his admiration for the astonishing resilience of ‘nature’.
Bill Woodrow, The Ledge, 2017. Images by Manuel Vason