In Mantle Thacker employs beautifully sinuous, serpentine lines of seemingly unravelling ‘S’ shaped curves which convey William Hogarth’s ideal Line of Beauty (an essential part of Hogarth’s theory of aesthetics as described in Analysis of Beauty (1753)). The sensuous, melodious shape animates the sculpture giving it a sense of lightness and energy, belying the heaviness of the marble. The exquisite smoothness of the polished marble, contrasts with the rougher, unpolished pieces of the stone. The gold leaf which intersperses along the interiors of the curves, catches the light as it dances along the surface of the sculpture. The ingenuity of the title, Mantle, creates suggestions within the mind: the upper back of a bird, the material that gives light by an incandescent flame, the interior of the earth rising above the central core or the figurative, flowing ‘cloak’ of responsibility passed on to others; or a veil shrouding our consciousness allowing for a subliminal reaction to the sculpture.
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About the Artist
Michael Thacker studied Fine Art (Sculpture) at Loughborough University, graduating in 1999. He went on to study Stone Masonry at York College, where he was awarded the S & J Whitehead Award for Stonemasonry. Thacker became an Associate member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors in 2003. Over the past fifteen years, his work has been included in over thirty exhibitions across the UK including Chelsea Flower Show, the London Art Fair, City Gallery Leicester, City Art House Lincoln, Nottingham Castle Gallery and the Living Gallery Birmingham.
Thacker began his career as a stone carver and mason, working predominantly at Lincoln Cathedral where he spent fifteen years. Today he works full time as a sculptor and his professional skills acquired over the years have given him a deep knowledge and affinity with stone. The architectural influence and an innate understanding of the principles of the structure of pediments and archways are apparent in his beautiful geometric sculptures. Thacker uses limestone, granite and marble in his distinctive sculptures, and sometimes embellishes and gilds them with 24 carat hand-beaten gold leaf, silver leaf or platinum leaf which reflect and accentuate the light.
Thacker sculpts works of art using sensual ogee shapes, melodious curves, and twisted but simple geometric shapes. He uses natural forms as primary references: seedpods, shells, fossils, plant buds, stylised waves or whale’s tales, dolphins or birds or opened up and unfolding pebbles; and some pieces are redolent of musical notes or instruments. The idea that a form develops, grows and emerges from within a hard casing, bursting forth to reveal a new appearance is paramount to his thought process. The beautiful, sinuous, sensual shapes and textures are earthily rough and unpolished in places and gloriously smooth, and highly polished - inviting touch - in other. The highly polished surfaces allow the natural striations in the stone to shine out and add dimension to feature as an integral part of the work. Thacker produces a dichotomy between the rough and smooth, light and dark, straight and curved - but all are harmonious and balanced. The juxtaposition of the surfaces suggests organic shapes emerging from their centre. He creates sophisticated, cosmological shapes, of beautifully balanced, continuous movement and in the spaces the eye completes the shape. The pieces are elemental: redolent of air, fire, water or earth.
Thacker’s sculptures have no front or back but should be viewed from different angles and in different lights, each side captivating and resonating with enigmatic impressionistic, symbolic meanings. The works allow for an open and individual interpretation and, as with the work of Henry Moore, they take our subconscious to half-remembered memories, evoking personal and individual interpretations and sensations. Thacker gives his pieces evocative, suggestive titles, which add to our interpretation of the sculpture and continue to lead our minds to other places.
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