Meet the Sculptor: Jo Naden

In our Meet the Artist series, ART BLOG seeks to uncover the mysteries of the artistic process. We caught up with Jo Naden, and she talked about her sculptures and her influences…

 

What drew you to abstraction?

Graham Sutherland’s organic abstractions of landscape alerted me to a view beyond objective representation, a looking beneath the surface to find more of the essential nature of something.

As my knowledge of art history grew I was deeply inspired by the work of Romanian born Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957), his working and life journey are at one, being committed to finding a truth through the medium of form.

“Simplicity is not an objective in art, but one achieves simplicity despite one’s self by entering into the real sense of things.” 

Barbara Hepworth found a kindred spirit in Brancusi’s approach to sculpture. Both advocated direct carving from stone; if Brancusi’s sculpture arose from Romanian folk traditions then Hepworth’s grew from a heightened sense of geometry.

“I rarely draw what I see I draw what I feel in my body”.

Fish Form
 ‘Fish Form’: Bronze lost-wax process. h. 53cm, w. 57 d. 9cm. edition 3/5

 

Traditions, ritual and myth attracted me to ancient cultures and their made objects. Intriguing forms often imbued with a sense of purpose, and showing an economy of design, give insights into earlier human consciousness.

The Cycladic Figures in the British Museum have always remained old friends visited time and time again.

Is there still a resistance to, or misunderstanding of, abstract art?

People think in many different ways and always within the context of their own lives, and yes there is still a resistance to abstract art, with responses such as,

What is it supposed to be anyway?

I like things to look like they are.

However, familiarity gives an opportunity for consideration. Most have heard of  Andre’s arrangement of 120 firebricks, and have an opinion on it.

Who are the great female abstract artists currently? Who inspires you?

I admire all female artists that manage to continue their practice, as I know how difficult this is. In terms of inspiration I try to follow my own path while drawing from both the arts and the sciences.

Beginnings
 ‘Beginnings’: Bronze, lost-wax process, h. 9cm, w. 14.5cm, d. 10cm edition 1/5

Of the great artists, those more obviously known are Magdalena Abakanowicz, (1930- 2017) and Eva Hesse (1936- 70).

Still working are:

  • Cornelia Parker, b. 1956
  • Rachel Whiteread, b.1963
  • Mona Hartoum b.1952

Not so visible are:

  • Bridget McCrum, b. 1934
  • Almuth Tebbenhoff. b.1949
  • Anita Mandl b.1926
  • Anne Christopher  b. 1947

Photographer Susan Derges has my admiration, her work having parallels with my own practice enquiry.

Hepworth’s generation was much influenced by scientist Albert Einstein (1879- 1955) and his work on relativity, as we still are today.

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” 

 

 

Biography

Jo Naden’s love of making form has become evident in her distilled sculptures, where the geometry of plane is all-important. Naden draws together small contemplative works of meditative abstraction, juxtaposed with larger dynamic forms referencing ancient cultures, and their attendance to time and tide. Materials of glass and bronze evoke a sense of ether and matter, within the sands of cyclical time.

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Jo’s work was included in our recent exhibition Equivalent 8.

 

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