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The Visionary Landscape of Professor Sir Robert Burgess

The University of Leicester Annual Sculpture Show. Sunday 15 June – Sunday 26 October 2014

An Exhibition curated by Helaine Blumenfeld OBE FRBS and John Sydney Carter FRBS

Jon Buck: You and Me, 2009, Bronze

This sculpture is an enlarged version of the piece RIGHT IN TIME. It has been re-titled, and in becoming monumental, it is more universal and less personal. YOU AND ME signifies the notion that these two heads could represent any of us caught in the endless embrace of life.


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Without Words’

Everyone Sang

 Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom,
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark-green fields; on–on–and out of sight.

Everyone’s voice was suddenly lifted;
And beauty came like the setting sun:
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away . . . O, but Everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.

The title for this exhibition was in part a response to this popular poem by Siegfried Sassoon. What resonates with me is his evident close affinity with the natural world and in particular his use of the bird as a metaphor to express what it is to be free and alive. In the poem one can surmise that Sassoon is reflecting on a real experience: the spontaneous outpouring of song in response to the end of the horrors of war. For me however, it is the ending of the poem that is most crucial: it becomes a timeless declaration of the resilience of the human spirit – feelings beyond words.

Jon Buck

June 2014


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A solo exhibition of Jon Buck’s new work at 


9th June until 18th July 2014

Dancing in Time front

‘Dancing in Time’  2014 54cm high

A fully illustrated catalogue with an introduction by Michael Bird will accompany the exhibition.  Please contact:

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Bird in the Bush

‘ Bird in the Bush’ 2014  Maquette for 180cm bronze

The Ruwenzori Sculpture Foundation has commissioned this work for their centre near Kasese in Western Uganda. The intention of the sculpture is to celebrate the Foundation’s success in becoming a centre of excellence for bronze casting, as well as recognising the work they are undertaking in restoring the surrounding natural environment.

We will travel out to Uganda in February 2014 to enlarge this maquette into a six-foot high sculpture which will then be cast into bronze by the craftsman at Rwenzori Founders.


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Nature V Culture

Back in Britain with grey days and falling temperatures there are always twinges of regret at leaving our rural idyll in France.  Nevertheless there are many things to look forward to this autumn and many cultural highlights on my agenda. Here are just three on my priority list:

sex and pleasure
in Japanese art

British Museum Exhibition

3 October 2013 – 5 January 2014


Torii Kiyonaga (1752–1815), detail taken from Sode no maki (Handscroll for the Sleeve), c. 1785.

The British Museum’s latest exhibition shows some of the explicit and beautiful erotic paintings, prints and books made in Japan between 17th and 19th centuries which came to be an inspiration and influence to many 20th century European artists, including Toulouse-Lautrec, Beardsley, Rodin and Picasso.

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Taking Stock

Each year during late summer we spend six weeks or so at our house in Western France. It is a time to reflect and a chance to get back in touch with the natural world. Nature has always been a major fascination for me and our relationship to it has been an inspiration for a good part of my work. Being intimately involved with such a specific natural habitat has allowed me the time to change focus and be enthralled by the beauty and wonder of a micro-world that might normally be overlooked.

ContactSheet-1 copy


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Andalusia: a spectacle of form, colour and pattern

Spring is a great time to visit Andalusia and it is about as exotic a place as you can find without leaving Europe. With only a week at our disposal we limited our visit to the two cities of Cordoba and Seville and then a brief trip to the Coto de Doñana national park.

The Moorish influence on this part of Spain means that abstract forms, geometric pattern and bold colour dominate its historic architecture. The twelve-hundred-year-old Mezquita dominates the old part of Cordoba and inside it is a forest of pillars supporting beautiful arches of red and white striped patterns.

Andlusia Mezquita


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Longdog gets a Coat of Many Colours

One artist, asked if he believed that great artists need to be good with ideas rather than with their hands, replied that a man who is good with his hands might as well make macramé. Artist Victoria Underwood’s response to this has been to make her tongue-in-cheek sculptures in just that way. She has expanded this idea by cladding Gallery Pangolin’s collection of outdoor works in a number of fetching outfits, giving them quite a different look.

Although difficult to see in his new multi-coloured garb, the form of Longdog also recognises the relationship between art and craft. This highly stylised dog-form was inspired by the animated columns and elongated domes that make up many of the buildings in Malian mud architecture.


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Early Bronze Age Ivory sculptures H.5.2cm and 6.5cm. Nebra, Unstrut Valley, Germany

Ice Age Art, arrival of the modern mind. 7 February to 26 May 2013

Arguably one of the best exhibitions the British Museum has put together!
At the end of February I attended a series of lectures relating to this exhibition. Nicholas Conard, Director of the Centre for Scientific Archaeology in Tübingen, Germany, spoke on the origins of art and music. Though I find his research and ideas fascinating, it is hard to accept that the origins of art evolved solely from this small area in Germany about 40,000 years ago. For all sorts of reasons, not least that art in Australia is purported to be equally as old, I think it much more likely that modern humans had minds capable of making art before they migrated out of Africa into Europe. Other lectures included the history of reconstructing the oldest sculpture found to date, The Lion Man, a Palaeolithic figure from Stadel Cave in Germany and archaeological work being undertaken at Grotte Chauvet, all of which were interesting and helped give context to the exhibition.

However it was the work in the exhibition itself that was the real treat of the day. Although most of us are very familiar with images of the great painted caves, representations of the sculpture of Palaeolithic Europe are less well-known. What one is not prepared for is the scale, the detail of the drawn elements and the sheer beauty and sensuality of the abstraction in many of the pieces. With few exceptions most of this work is of a scale to be held in the hand or even the fingertips and yet it still has a monumentality of scale. One cannot help but reflect on Picasso’s comment on Palaeolithic art that ‘we have learnt nothing at all.’ In any event I am sure that there is still plenty that can inspire us in these beautiful objects and the understanding it gives on our artistic inheritance.

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Work Currently on Show at:

Drawn 2013 23 March – 2 June Royal West of England Academy

Clan Totems: in context 26th March – 21st April 2013 Venue: Nature in Art, Twigworth, Gloucester

This exhibition shows a selection of the Clan Totem sculptures I designed for the Ruwenzori Sculpture Foundation in Uganda between 2009 and 2012. In modern Uganda many of the existing tribes have clan systems each represented by a totem. However in this part of Africa historical narratives are kept alive for the most part in the performance of dance and music and any visual art tradition has all but disappeared. My commission brief was to design a set of contemporary sculptural totems that could be cast into bronze by Rwenzori Founders. The totems are shown alongside a series of photographic works by Steve Russell. These images, taken from his travels in Africa, help to set the totems in context with the landscape, animals and people of this astonishing country.


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