Private View: Sculptor’s Prints & Maquettes

“Artists have always been inspired to depict the great creation stories of their day attempting to explain our existence and make conjectures of what the future might hold. My images are in essence no different but also draw inspiration from Science’s contemporary narrative of Evolution as well as our shared history”

Jon Buck

“In Patterns of Change Buck presents us with a multi-layed experience, both visual and though provoiking with celebrates the diversity of life but also cvarries a pertinent message for our generation living in the Anthropocene era to respect ‘the delicate balance that is the web of life’.”

Polly Beilecka
Pangolin London

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Forthcoming Exhibition

I have been invited to show five ceramic pieces in this new exhibition, along with a small group of other sculptors who also use fired clay as part of their practice.

In an area termed Old Europe, archaeologists have excavated many small female figurines dating back to the Neolithic period of Prehistory. These little sculptures have been interpreted as ‘Earth Goddesses’ suggesting belief in a divinity who gave birth to and presided over a Nature that was both revered and sacred.

Today, our understanding of how life emerged and evolved is of course very different. However, science still uses figurative metaphors to help explain and discuss how evolution functions, an example of which is the ‘Red Queen’ borrowed from Lewis Carroll’s stories of Alice.

In imagining what a Red Queen of evolution might look like, I made a number of small figurative sculptures and was then struck by how little difference there was in essence between the Red Queen and a Neolithic Goddess. In consequence, these ceramic figures are imagined deities of evolution. Like Life itself, the surface patterns are cellular, making up the emerging forms that might develop into the biodiversity of the living world.

Although science has given us an understanding of the biological processes of life, we seem unable to hold it sacred as our early ancestors once did, the result being the impending ecological crises that confront us today.

RWA Royal West of England Academy, Queens Road, Clifton,Bristol
26 March – 12 May 2024

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South Korea










These two bronzes, ‘You and Me’ and ‘In Man’s Nature’ have been over a year in production at Pangolin Bronze foundry in Gloucestershire and are now in the final stages of being finished, ready to be shipped to South Korea where they will be installed in the Bundang Memorial Park in Seoul.

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Patterns of Change

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March of Mutability

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Large Leopard Totem Installed

The Ruwenzori Sculpture Foundation was set up in 2004 with the intention of fostering cultural exchanges between Ugandan and British artists. In early 2005 three Ugandan trainees, selected for a three-year scholarship, arrived in the UK to be trained in all aspects of the bronze-casting process. They returned to Uganda to set up Rwenzori Founders Sculpture Foundry in 2008, adapting their knowledge to local conditions and the needs of local and visiting artists. That same year, I was asked to design a set of tribal clan totems for the Founders team to cast, exhibit and sell in their on-site gallery.

Initially I spent time at Makerere University in Kampala researching the customs of Uganda’s tribal clans and their totemic animal emblems. Although these customs are still very much adhered to, any visual evidence of what form these totems might have taken no longer exists. To some degree that gave me licence to invent new sculptural forms to represent each clan. As the nature of the totems was intended to be symbolic, my designs had to be stylistic representations rather than naturalistic ones. Having completed my research, I eventually designed and supervised the making of over thirty different animal totems, many of which represented clans from the largest tribe in Uganda, the Buganda, but were also common to several different tribal groups.

In the intervening years the team of founders at Kyemihoko have cast many editions of these small bronze totems which are always on show for visitors to their award-winning art gallery. I have returned on several occasions to add to the collection and also to make larger works to be sited in the developing sculpture park. On my last visit in 2018, I was invited to help enlarge the Ngo, or Leopard totem, to add to the growing collection of outdoor works by both Ugandan and British artists. This large bronze has finally been completed and has been installed in the park by the Rwenzori Founders team this summer.

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Time of our Lives

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Forthcoming Exhibition


1st May –8thJune at Pangolin London

13thMay-28th June at Gallery Pangolin, Stroud

“Jon Buck’s work takes inspiration from a wide range of historical and contemporary scientific and anthropological sources. In this important exhibition across both Pangolin Galleries many of his new works explore primary patterns derived from the natural world. They embellish the surfaces of containers, receptacles and arks with the implied need for the preservation of the great diversity that is life.”

Pangolin London

‘In Ferment’

Humans have been inspired by and admired the aesthetic forms of the natural world ever since Neolithic artists scraped the first images on rock faces and cave interiors. Their symbolic and metaphoric depictions continue to delight us and be part of our conceptual toolkit even today. However, in a day-to-day sense we have become more reliant on the use of a much more abstract set of symbols, not least with alphabets of written languages, but more recently with the icon vectors found on computer keyboards and mobile phones which have become globally ubiquitous. In my sculpture ‘In Ferment’ above, the two languages are tumbled together on the surface of this vessel. It is as if one is being asked to imagine a metabolic process of fermentation with our new and ancient cultures both effervescing within its interior.


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In Man’s Nature

My sculpture In Man’s Nature has found itself a very exotic new setting. The work has been purchased for a new city development in Mauritius, the island about which Mark Twain was once purported to have remarked; “Mauritius was made first and then heaven, heaven being copied after Mauritius.”

However, this location is no romantic natural idyll but a new Smart City, centred upon a major university campus that will also include a brand new art centre and a sculpture park. Uniciti, as it has been named, has been specifically designed to provide world-class higher education for young Mauritians and students from other African countries.

In Man’s Nature is currently to be seen at their Pierrefonds campus but once the new sculpture park has been completed it will become one of the first sculptures to be sited there.

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News From Uganda

Amazingly, the Ruwenzori Sculpture Foundation is now in its tenth year. I have been lucky enough to be involved since its conception and was responsible for its very first sculpture project. My challenge was to design and make a group of small sculptures representing Ugandan tribal clan totems which could subsequently be reproduced in bronze by the newly-trained Rwenzori Founders team.

This project was not as ill considered as it might appear. There are many traditional tribal customs such as music and dance that continue to thrive in Uganda today. The clan’s lineages and affiliations are still respected but for some reason, the visual heritage that might have symbolised these, has for the most part completely disappeared. In consequence it seemed a wholly legitimate concept to imaginatively recreate new totems to represent some of the many tribal clans. In the end I designed over thirty totems, many of them, unsurprisingly, being stylistically simplified images of Uganda’s iconic wildlife.

Pangolin Totem Image

Bronze edition of the Lugave or Pangolin Totem

Since those early days the Foundation has hosted many visiting artists from both Uganda and the UK and has now begun to establish a sculpture park surrounding the gallery on site, near Kasese in Western Uganda. This developing project has given the Rwenzori Founders team the considerable challenge of casting bronze sculptures on a much larger scale.

Winnie working on Pangolin Sculpture

Winnie working on the clay enlargement of the Pangolin totem. Thanks to Steve Russell for the above photo.

The Foundation has selected two of my original clan totems to enlarge and cast into bronze, the pangolin or Lugave clan totem and the leopard or Ngo clan totem, to be part of this growing collection of large sculptures in the park. Last month I visited to help put the finishing touches to the three and a half metre leopard enlargement.

Leopard Clay enlargement

Clay enlargement of Leopard Totem nearing completion.

The opportunity to visit Uganda regularly has given me the chance to explore some of the surrounding environment and discover the extraordinary diversity of wildlife that it supports. In consequence, it can be no accident that my contemporary studio work in recent years has been much influenced by these adventures and has begun to directly reflect the huge diversity of form and colour that evolution has produced on our planet over the millennia. It is also apposite to wonder how extraordinary it is that our own aesthetic empathy is reflected in this proliferation of beauty. However, one cannot help also to be painfully aware of the human pressures that are being brought to bear on this precious phenomenon and to ask at what cost is its demise?

Common Sword Tail Image

Common swordtail (Graphium polycenes)

Red Throated Bee Eater Image

Red-throated Bee-eater (Merops bulocki)

Patas monkey (Erythrocebus patas)
Patas monkey (Erythrocebus patas)

Saddle-billed stork (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis)

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