Edge Hill University 125th anniversary sculpture

A new piece of art has been unveiled in Edge Hill University’s sculpture park as part of the institution’s 125th anniversary celebrations.

Liverpool-born artist Tony Evans has created the artwork which uses a skin of copper sheet over a skeleton of stainless steel. The new commission depicts an impressionistic representation of a goat and idea that came from the University’s semi-rural location.

The University’s sculpture park was developed in 1989 to contribute to the arts in West Lancashire by giving an outdoor exhibition space which would be available to the public and accessible to those with disabilities. The exhibits, which have been created by both professional artists and students, have also been used as a schools’ resource, as well as wider festivals of the arts including dance, drama and music.

Joan Steele, Art and Design Subject Study Technician, is one of the University’s longest serving members of staff. She said: “Two years I was asked to become the custodian of the University’s art collection which incorporates the Sculpture Park. The works have been exposed to the elements for over 20 years and were in need of restoration. Since then we’ve repaired10 of the works with help from one of my colleagues and advice from some experts, and re-sited them around campus.

“Plans are also being made for a Sculpture Trail around the site. Art and Design PGCE students are putting a programme and map together for the launch of the Trail in May.”

Tony Evans worked for the Prudential for more than 30 years before becoming a full time artist, specialising in sculptures of animals in action.

Tony said: “I start with numerous reference drawings to realise the optimum shape from every angle. Creating a 3D piece of art is much more demanding than 2D as every change of position by the viewer reveals a different outline.

“Next comes a series of small wire maquettes and a full size working drawing so I can calculate lengths, areas and shapes. From this I build the armature, or skeleton, in stainless steel which resists weathering. This is then covered with the ‘skin’ – a mixture of bright new copper sheet and salvaged scrap copper, such as copper immersion cylinders and domestic plumbing.

“This outer covering is then patinated in various ways; burned and coloured with a oxy-acetylene torch or painted with chemicals, and also utilises the natural verdigris in the copper itself. The finished sculpture is given several coats of clear lacquer to preserve the initial finish.”

An exhibition of Tony’s work is on show at the University until Friday 19 March. The Sculpture Trail will be launched on Thursday 13 May.