Abstract art at Horsham Museum looks at humanity and social injustice

Artwork by Carol Wagstaff. Photographed by Frank Bull
Artwork by Carol Wagstaff. Photographed by Frank Bull

Responses and Reflections: The Art and Craft of Carol Wagstaff is a new exhibition at Horsham Museum & Art Gallery (until March 24).

“I was born in London and grew up in the suburbs of Hertfordshire,” said Carol.

“I now live and work as an independent artist in Steyning, which has been my home for the past 25 years.

“Having previously worked within in the auspices of museums, which I have enjoyed very much, I decided to approach Horsham Museum in late October 2017 assuming that, if at all possible, I might be able to exhibit in late 2018 to 2019.

“However, much to my surprise Jeremy Knight, the museum’s heritage and museum manager, offered me this time slot to exhibit my work in the upper gallery.

“As a multi-media artist, he also thought that a retrospective would make an interesting exhibition to reflect on my journey as an artist, and that the upper gallery in particular has wonderful vitrines where I could display my 3D works. I accepted the offer to have this opportunity for a retrospective, and with little time to spare it certainly focussed my attention, making me critically aware of my work and preoccupations.

“The exhibition features a range of paintings, sculptures, works on paper, sketch books, objects, photography and prints that I have created over the past two decades since I graduated as a mature student in 1998.

“There are works on show from private collections that have been kindly loaned for this exhibition, that had previously been commissioned by the National Trust at Standen, West Sussex. There are portraits to see, both in painting and sculpture, which was a new venture for me last year.

“My aim is to connect with artistic tradition in a contemporary way. My approach as a multi-media artist leads me to work in a multiplicity of materials. Some of my work has a design element but on balance I tend to react to current crises as they occur in a more expressive abstract way.

“My subject matter is often my concern for conflicting humanity, social injustice and for the displacement of millions of people across the world and for the global landscape and environment.”

Carol continued: “Among the many inspirational artists that I admire are contemporary artists such as Gerhard Richter, Anthony Gormley, Elizabeth Frink, and Francis Bacon; and, historically Francisco Goya, and Pieter Breugal, most of whose work looked at the vagaries of the human condition.

“Since graduating in 1998; my journey has led me to several site-specific projects both here and abroad including a residency in Amsterdam, site specific work for The National Trust, at Osterley Park in London, and at Standen, East Grinstead. I have worked on several corporate projects, as well as many private commissions, and collaborated on work with interior designers in London and in Sussex.”

Visit www.carolwagstaff.co.uk to see more of Carol’s artwork.

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