Behind The Mask
Philip Jackson CVO DL MA FRBS FRSA, one of Britain’s most respected and commissioned sculptors, has produced some of our country’s best-known public works. His London work includes such icons as the Bomber Command Memorial at Hyde Park Corner, members of the Royal family including the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother on The Mall, HM Elizabeth II and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh in Windsor Great Park, and The Gurkha Monument in Horse Guards Parade. Recent public works include Mahatma Gandhi in Parliament Square and Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, in Lincoln’s Inn.
It might be a surprise to some that he has chosen Petworth as the location for his largest exhibition to date, with more than fifty works in the show; however, Jackson lives and works locally in West Sussex, dividing his time between public commissions and gallery sculpture. As a regular visitor to Augustus Brandt, he was immediately receptive to the idea of showing his works in this unique environment, saying: “I have known and admired for many years the charming Georgian house that is now the home of Augustus Brandt, so I am particularly thrilled to be exhibiting my sculptures within its elegant, well-appointed and interesting interiors”.
From the towering, masked Magistrate to the demure Mr Bennett’s Daughter, Jackson’s large-scale figures have been brought inside for this exhibition. A phalanx of cloaked female figures, Dogerina’s Progress, dominates one room; an arresting vision for the passer-by as they march towards the gallery’s plate glass window, whilst Winter on the Veneto stands serenely next to a period fireplace and an 18thCentury Florentine mirror.
Inspired by a long-held fascination for post-Renaissance Venice and love of music, theatre, painting and history, his oeuvre comprises a cast of imposing, elegant, theatrical and sometimes enigmatic figures, from Don Giovanni’s masked Don Ottavio to a hauntingly powerful rendering of Greek mythology’s Icarus, and the graceful, mesmerising Saraband. Although diverse in subject matter, this cast of figures undoubtedly shares the same DNA, with their meticulously precise posturing and powerful presence. Jackson’s gallery work has been exhibited across the globe and is now more in demand than ever.
Augustus Brandt’s premises, comprising an 18thCentury Georgian townhouse and coach house, has 7,500 square feet of gallery space, spread over 17 rooms. The building, with its generous proportions and original features, provides a dramatic and intimate backdrop for Jackson’s large-scale pieces, some of which are in excess of 8 feet high. Shown for the first time in room-sets filled with gilt consoles and mirrors and crystal chandeliers, the exhibition creates a more private encounter with the artist’s work. Also on display will be a large group of small scale bronzes, including the recent Contemplating Canaletto and Study for the Redotto.
Philip Jackson describes his own work as essentially an impressionistic rendering of the figure. Drawing on organic forms, the figures seemingly grow out of the ground, with the texture resembling tree bark. Therefore, it seemed a natural choice that Dutch born local photographer Peter Thuring’s Ancient and Veteran Trees of Petworth exhibition will be on display alongside the figures.
‘Behind the Mask’ by Philip Jackson extended to Saturday 5th January 2019.
Opening hours are 10am to 5.30pm, Monday to Saturday.