'Mercury' red sandstone, lead


#12 Periastra : Participants : Richard Lawrence

I graduated from Wimbledon school of art in 1982 since then I have had a studio in S.E London. From 1995 my studio has been at APT in Deptford, where I am a founder member.

My practice is sculpture, I started out carving wood, Elm, Beech, Oak to name a few, I am now back working in wood, carving and sometimes constructing. Between these two spells, I carved stone and worked in clay and plaster. I carved Granite on two symposiums one in Scotland and one in China. I have completed public commissions in stone, some locally Woolwich and Abby Wood and others further afield, in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

I have also completed public commissions in wood. In 2001 I carved and installed a set of steps at Enderby Wharf, East Greenwich. The steps descend in to the Thames and are submerged by the high tide. The wood I used is Opepe, a tropical hard wood. I carved in relief the history of Enderby Wharf.

In 2001 I won a sculpture competition, it was a commission to create a sculpture for Deptford Creek. A requirement was that the sculpture expressed something of the tidal nature of the Creek. I proposed a stone carving of the moon. Due to a lack of funds, it never went ahead, but I carved a small version and went on to carve most of the planets of the Solar System plus a Comet.

For some years I modeled clay and cast in to plaster often combining found objects-plastic bottles etc. My subject in this case, was animals quite often of the Arctic region, the context was climate change, pollution and loss of habitat. This subject I have carried over in to my current wood carving both in sculptures and wood cut prints.

About the artwork


The smallest planet in the Solar System and the closest to the sun a rocky planet with a metallic/iron core, possibly still molten.

I have carved most of the planets but in my carved Solar System scale is not proportional my Jupiter is only twice the size of Mercury and I have carved two versions of our moon both bigger than Jupiter. I have tried to carve the surface of my planets in such a way as to inform the salient nature of that planet for example, Jupiter, I have carved the stone to form a look like a gaseous ball.

Mercury, I carved in a red sandstone, pitted the surface with craters like the moon, then poured molten lead in to those craters. The sculpture looks very tactile a look I wanted in all my planets. I wanted it to look like you could feel the interior dynamics.