Revered British sculptor Simon Gudgeon learnt the essential skills of observation, analysis, and interpretation of wildlife deep in the Yorkshire countryside, where he was born on his family farm in 1958.
Having studied law at Reading University (and originally practising as a solicitor), it wasn’t until he was in his thirties that he began to paint and exhibited at London’s Battersea Exhibition Centre in 1992. It was even later still, when he reached the age of 40, before a spontaneous purchase of artist’s clay lead him into his successful career as a sculptor.
In the more than 20 years since then he has had pieces installed in illustrious locations such as Hyde Park, London, the National Museum of Wildlife Art, Wyoming, and Millbank, London (next to Tate Britain); as well as exhibiting at Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wisconsin, San Diego Natural History Museum, and Westminster City of Sculpture Festival to name just a few.
His work garners attention from some esteemed admirers and collectors the world over, including in 2011 his piece ‘Search for Enlightenment’ being presented to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace. Of this particular sculpture, Simon notes “this piece outlines the profile of two large human heads, a male and a female, cast in bronze and placed next to each other. Their expressions are peaceful and contemplative; understanding and accepting of their place in the universe. The form of the sculpture allows the viewer to look through them, which incorporates their existence within the surrounding landscape”.
As well as sculpting and exhibiting extensively, Simon created ‘Sculpture by the Lakes’ in Pallington with his wife Monique, believing that placing sculptures outdoors frees its power, and allows the observer to more readily benefit from its beauty and relatability. This “haven of peace and tranquillity” is set in 26 acres of dazzling Dorset countryside, in which art lovers and collectors can enjoy exploring his collection of sublime sculpture installations, and a selection of work from other artists including familiar names like Philip Jackson, Fred Gordon, Adam Binder, and Gill Parker. The park also provides a sublime venue for outdoor events, music, and arts festivals. He says of his work in his rural environs: “It is a privilege to live in such beautiful surroundings and be able to follow a career that inspires and stimulates me on so many levels. It is an honour to be able to create something that has such a positive effect, that can transform people’s lives and uplift their spirits”.
Using a variety of different materials for modelling (from clay, to epoxy resin and foam, as determined by the scale and nature of the subject), Simon casts his pieces primarily in bronze and stainless steel. Of his creative process he says: “an idea enters my mind – be it a shape, a movement or an emotion – and I simply want to convey it. I must convey it! Ideas come from a combination of observations, thoughts, beliefs and the profound experiences of one’s life”.
Trips to far flung continents over his artistic career have served to expand his subject matter, style and methods, and his signature style is notable for its fluid and elegantly smooth quality. He is well known for his sculptures of birds in flight, which beautifully suggest the form of his subject, with the swoop of a wing or arch of a neck and distil the essence of spirit and nature.
His minimalist, semi-abstract forms depict both motion and the perception of a moment captured with a visual harmony that is unmistakably his own. A response to the natural world, and the dynamics of which both challenge and excite him, Simon creates innovative work which aims to “move away from the purely representational, towards something that has a deeper subtext”.
If you would like to see more of Simon’s stunning work which uplifts the senses and enhances its environment, then head over to our online gallery to browse his full collection of beautiful bronze sculpture.