Artistic Gate, Art Gene, Cumbria
The artwork comprises a bespoke ‘estate’ style gate, produced in the traditional manner and materials, onto which have been placed a number of cast iron bird figures. At first glance, the birds appear to be straight representations of common species, sparrow, robin and wren but more careful investigation shows that they are a more stylised creation, each being a hybrid of characteristic features of a number of species of bird.
In fact, the moulding for the castings came from a collection of ceramic birds, gathered from local charity shops and representative of popular ornamentation in homes throughout the area. Further examination will reveal that the birds are actually painted in camouflage colours, a link to the military past of the site and to the ‘flying away’ and unfortunate non-return to their homes of local recruits who went to serve in the First World War. Thus, the gate (a further metaphor as it links 2 areas) combines a number of meanings reflecting, time, space, people, homes and loss.
Lost Art Limited, in liaison with the conceptual artists, designed and produced the base gate, supplied the castings for the birds, along with the fixings and once the painted birds had been placed according to the wishes of the artists, then we were responsible for the gate being taken to site and installed – an organisational feat in itself, given that it required access across land still owned and operated by the military.
Additional cast birds were also used as part of a wider art installation ‘One for Sorrow’.
Artistic gate supplied to Art Gene, Cumbria as part of their ‘One For Sorrow’ installation.
Produced and installed by Lost Art in 2017, a collaborative artwork by Art Gene’s Maddi Nicholson, Stuart Bastik and Charlie MacKeith, the artistic gate at Walney initially represents a combination of the history and ecology of the area in which it is displayed. Once home to both an army rifle range and an RAF base, as that time has now passed, the land has now become a bird sanctuary of national and international significance.