Stones on the Beach
This exhibition evolved mainly from
left-over resin from the making of my more considered and conceptual
Often the resin was already hardening
and left little time to think and simply required direct action
to be made. Soon this apparent incidental process formed into a
series of making rituals that reflected subject matter subconsciously
drawn from experience and memory.
This spontaneous means to externalise
my imagination and emotional life presented its own narrative and
In my own research and interest into
Physics and in particular the first principles of Sculpture and
Metaphysics, these works mirror through their manifestations knowledge
of Painting and Sculpture that share the same universe, some of
these examples are set out in this exhibition.
I have always been interested in metaphor
and know that most art depends on this to provide poetic insights
into the complexities of life's experience: so the title 'Stones
on the Beach' serves äs a metaphor engaging the notion of chance
and/or fate within the dance of existence in which art attempts
to fix the unfixable.
In my work the female body and round
forms of fruit, pebbles, planets, cells and stars have connections
beyond their formal three-dimensional similarities, and at their
root have a universal and fundamental emotional meaning for both
a personal and collective understanding.
The beach presents time and place
in which the forces of nature and the laws of Physics combine to
produce patterns of seeming logic, order and consequence. Such forces
allow materials and matter to be processed through the activity
of art and to be elevated to the Status of language and meaning.
In this way the work forms a means to reconcile the apparent divided
nature of life, and attempts to record such revelations into the
To those familiär with the work
of Roland Piché this exhibition may come äs a surprise.
It is ostensibly two dimensional, and at first sight has little
affinity with previous work exhibited throughout a distinguished
and varied career. This exhibition is not a retrospective. It is
an absorbing and intriguing presentation of previously unseen work
revealing yet another dimension of an artist whose devotion to tradition
and insight into the classical ideal is matched by a continued and
undiminished investigation into alternative, yet synthesised life
forces. Interest in, and study of, the classical is enriched by
a greater emphasis on the Dionysian and on the romantic. the spontaneous,
the arbitrary, and above all the vital role played by chance. A
force which operates inexorably and with impunity through our supposed
Piché's continued fascination
with the reconciliation of apparent opposites led to a study of
metaphysics and this has influenced and enriched both his teaching
and his art. Much of his work references the history of ideas before
science, the arts and philosophy parted Company. Newton offered
his discoveries to astronomers and philosophers, Kant combined philosophy
with the natural sciences but thereafter the equation of philosophy
with a scientific world was rapidly discarded. By the nineteenth
Century Max Weber had decisively divided culture into science, morality
and art. Thereafter attention was focused on the introspection of
the consciousness and the psychological.
Hannah Arendt has observed that this
marked the beginning of pessimism, but that it did not Signal the
obsolescence of philosophy. She wrote, "Whatever is authentic
possesses the same permanence and durability äs art works,
but in this case closely related to the eventual evolution of a
world where truths for many centuries accessible only to the few
have become truths for everybody" (Arendt. Hannah, The Human
Condition, second ed. University of Chicago, 1998, p.272). In the
relatively short time since these words were written there have
been many challenges to both permanence and durability in the world
of art, but few of these assaults facilitated accessibility!
The avant garde of the sixties questioned
the continuing centrality of painting and sculpture. Abstraction
and figuration erected respective boundaries and definitions which
excluded or confined but frequently confused. There were intense
preoccupations with claims and counter Claims for the primary of
many issues. Attitudes, origins, commodification, originality. appropriation,
class, race and gender all invited critical interest and endless
debate. Modernist theory vied with modernist art to establish a
prototype. äs history was discarded and the absolute embraced.
Before such hegemony aiterative paradigms were decisively marginalised.
It took the paradoxically reassuring uncertainties of post modernism
to break down the strictures of modernism.
Yet for many artists and critics the
definitions of the new orthodoxy remained contested and complicated.
The frequent vagueness of the ensuring debate led to a void that
was to prove encouraging for many artists. Theories surrounding
value receded and art was no longer necessarily an integral part
of intellectual culture. In many well publicised and handsomely
rewarded examples art became a lifestyle issue dictated by fashion.
The imperatives were for instant and limited gratification which
characterises so much of popular culture.
At the outset of his career Roland
Piché was recognised as independent. It is a stance he has
unselfconsciously and resolutely maintained, having never been part
of a group or a purveyor of popular or limited ideas. Consider the
work you see here. There is a strong Suggestion of the three dimensional.
There are also references to Christianity, to Humanist tradition.
to pre Christian Western art and the visual traditions of ancient
Egypt. There is spontaneity inherent in the artist's use of resin,
and the depiction of the women on the beach. There is fragmentation
and a discernible difference in the Situation and dominant tradition
of each highly individual figure. But there is also an over arching
unity of understanding and purpose although we know we are looking
at a divided reality.
We have before us many layers of meaning
and Interpretation, but this diversity is not the language of value
free and arbitrary cultural cannibalism that has characterised far
too many exhibitions. These works incorporate what the artist describes,
quite simply, äs his "core" values. They were espoused
in his youth and he has been true to them. The questions he asked
then have not been forgotten or corrupted, they have been reiterated,
and in many instances Consolidated by the insights provided by maturity
and a determination not to lose sight of those principles of sculpture
on which so much rests.
Roland Piché has never admitted
a hierarchy of material or process. We do not usually organise a
hierarchy of language and yet we can manipulate, interrogate or
elevate the language at our disposal to take us to the desired level
of communication. The magnificent Woman And Stones On The Beach
consolidates these ideas. and invites comparison with his previous
work. This figure which alludes to all the powerful goddesses of
ancient Egypt and signifies both procreation and destruction. She
is also deeply centred by gravitational force, but her inherent
core is also found in the sea and fts tides. The gravitational pull
of the moon, the "watery star" is also present in not
only the force of the figure but in its luminosity. She is at one
with the sea, its sudden changes and ultimate indifference to the
aspirations or fears of humanity and its suffering. This is nature
at its most elemental, a preoccupation of the scientists but irresistible
to the romantic! The true reconciliation of differences.
Baudelaire wrote that beauty has a
dual aspect, the mutable and the unchanging. So does the work of