Overview

Martin Naylor

(b. 1944)


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(1944– )

British sculptor whose work sometimes comes close to installation art. He was born in Morley near Leeds and he studied at the Royal College of Art. His solo exhibition at the Rowan Gallery, London, in 1974, which included the Discarded Sweater (1973, Tate) and the series entitled Young Girl Seated by her Window, was significant because it represented a reintroduction of a sense of the figure in sculpture through allusive references created by the mixing of sculptural form and found objects. These sculptures and other works represented a break with the abstract sculpture of Caro and his successors, who had dominated British sculpture in the previous decade, and looked forward to the New British Sculpture of a few years later. Naylor also made powerful use of film and photographic imagery in his work. Important Mischief (1976, City Art Gallery, Leeds) has a threatening blown-up photograph of a man wielding a baseball bat, with two glazed frames on each side and a collection of machine parts on the floor. Naylor now lives in Argentina, claiming disenchantment with the official British art scene. In an exhibition held in Buenos Aires in 1996, he pinned a text by the existentialist writer Albert Camus at the entrance: ‘It is by a continual effort that I can create…It is how I despair and how I cure myself of despair.’ Certainly the existentialist view of art (see Sartre) has been consistently unfashionable in Britain both in the highly politicized 1970s and in the equally highly commercialized art world of the late eighties and after.

Further Reading

D. Cohen, ‘Exile in a land of Mischief’, The Independent (20 August 1996)

Subjects: Art.


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