Best of Sculpture: Mela Cooke

ART EDIT PRESENTS A SELECTION OF SCULPTORS AT THE TOP OF THEIR GAME. KIRSTY SIER WRITES.

Artist Mela Cooke’s past life as a physiotherapist is apparent in her strikingly realistic style of sculpture, which pays particular attention to the physical form at rest. Her posing figures are not just aesthetically magnificent, they are also imbued with individual human character. Each figure is made from the laborious artisanal process of casting in bronze. First, the artist creates a clay sculpture from which a wax mould is made and coated in a ceramic shell. The wax is then melted out of the ceramic and, in its place, bronze is poured in at a temperature of around 1,200 degrees Celsius. Finally, the sculpture is sandblasted, smoothed with a grinder, and given a patina that is applied by hand. There is a timelessness to this age-old technique but, in Mela’s hands, the final products are brought into the present day through strong lines, subtle gestures, and the portrayal of modern attitudes taken from the artist’s everyday experience.

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