“British sculptor Antony Gormley (born 1950) uses the human form to explore man's existence in and relation to the world. Field is a series of installations made in collaboration with communities from across the globe.” (Liverpool Tate, 2004). He uses local people to create the individual sculptures thereby the community in which the work is being exhibited becomes directly and personally involved in the work. The work becomes “theirs” as well as Gormley’s. The participants that sculpt the clay figures are given just a few guidelines by the artist regarding size, eyes, proportion etc, when finished they are sun dried then kiln baked. The artists specific use of clay is symbolic of the earth itself and mankind's direct connection to nature and the planet.
Gormely’s work is visually fascinating. Even though the figures are not detailed, each one is different, enabling the viewer to look at the work for a long period, scrutinising each figure, each expression. Each glance revealing new detail and a new connection with this figure or this face. Gormely’s choice of figurative over abstract allows the viewer to connect to the work at a very personal, emotional level, allowing the viewer to see themselves, their loved ones, their neighbours in these figures, these faces.
There are thousands of individual sculptures in each installation (the number varies depending on the location) confined within a room, seen only from one defined view point, thereby forcing the direction of the focal point down over the sea of figures, creating a specific depth of field. The space is totally filled with the figures, giving the impression that the viewer is looking at a “field” of souls. They appear to be massing towards the viewer in a wave of humanity. The figures look back at us, giving the viewer a sense of responsibility and consequence, creating a sense that perhaps the viewer is part of the work itself. Antony Gormley describes his creation as "25 tons of clay energised by fire, sensitised by touch and made conscious by being given eyes ... a field of gazes which looks at the observer making him or her its subject". (Anthony Gormley. n.d.)
See Gormely's "Field" below along with more of his amazing public and gallery sculptures.