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Barry Mason
(b. 1952)


“For me the idea behind a sculpture is paramount, and the methods and materials chosen to express the idea should be the best available”.


This statement has been a guiding principle in Masons sculpture since his first professional commissions in the mid 1970’s.

At this time, pursuing an interest in landscape, the works were monumental constructions of timber and steel and often incorporated earthworks.


In the 80’s, following a more specific interest in sunpaths and shadow, stone became a primary material. After winning a competition to site a large sculpture in the middle of Bath, skills were acquired from a City and Guilds course in the city. For a decade Mason worked part time as a conservator and carver. “This was a good time for me. The continuity of work enabled me to buy decent equipment and to build a studio. I embarked on the “Helios” series of sculptures, some of which were speculative and others commissioned and permanently sited.” (i.e. Helios XII at Milhamford College in Oxford)


At the end of the decade Mason was shortlisted for a major watersculpture project in Birmingham. Although not winning the competition, the experience of experimenting with water and stone took his work in a new direction. Indeed for most of the 90’s water became a primary element and the range of materials used expanded to include copper, bronze and stainless steel. There were also design collaborations with architects, landscape architects and structural engineers, which led to a series of realised and unrealised projects. Sculptures shown in award winning gardens at Chelsea Flower Show led to a series of national and international commissions which are ongoing. Public commissions have included “Half Moon” for Eton College and “Vessica” which stands outside the Hiscox building in the City of London.


“For the last 5 or so years I have been working virtually back to back on mainly private commissions. The only down side to this is that I am often asked to exhibit but rarely have the time to make purely speculative works. I am aware that I must often miss out on other opportunities as a result of this but “a bird in hand…” I have also been teaching less, and am thus relying on commissions for my family income”.


The last few years have seen the development of yet another phase in Masons work. A fortunate accident in the studio triggered a series of experiments using industrial lasers to cut patterns of holes in sheet metal, which are beyond the skill and accuracy of the human hand. This has led to a new and ongoing series of sculptures in which solidity and mass are challenged by light. (i.e. “Second Contact” at Goodwood and “Octet” in Hamburg).


In 2000 the “Year of the Artist” initiative enabled Mason to return briefly to stone carving to make a site specific piece, “Oculus” for the nave of Hailes Abbey , near Winchcombe, Gloucestershire. “This was a hugely enjoyable commission, which has led to the possibility to work for the church.


Courtesy of the artist’s website.