Martin and Dowling have worked together since 1997, their collaborative pieces straddling the fields of sculpture and craft. The artists comment that their work is, about the encounter of hand, wood, and chisel, where pattern and texture emerge from the repetitive nature of the act of carving itself.
Their different backgrounds – Martin studied sculpture before going on to the Royal College of Art, while Dowling trained as a textile artist – spark their collaboration, bringing the fluidity and rhythm of textiles to this least fluid of mediums.
In their most recent work, the black abstract forms evoke a human presence through their scale and posture. Scale has always been important to their work, whether it is the intimacy of a piece to be held in the hand or the architectural scale of their public art pieces. Even in their well-known vessel pieces, a sense of the figure is rarely entirely absent, as the artists state, Our forms hover somewhere between imagined vessels and the memories of bodies.
“We make sculpture in wood, from half-ton monumental forms for a secret garden, to vessels sewn together from sections of veneer weighing a few grammes. We work together on every stage of the pieces, and have been collaborating full time since 1997. What all our pieces share is the central role of the hand and of hand tools, primarily through carving.
We work on different bodies of work concurrently, so we are continuing our series of still life groupings both in monochrome and colour at the same time as making significant single pieces.
We make an increasing amount of work to commission, for both private and public clients. Please feel welcome to contact us to discuss a potential project. Some previous commissions are shown on the ‘Commissions’ pages.
We are members of Contemporary Applied Arts, showing regularly with them, and have worked with Sarah Myerscough Fine Art, and with flow gallery in Notting Hill for many years.
One of our most significant experiences as makers was our residency at the Center for Art in Wood in Philadelphia, investigating combining traditional carving techniques with stitching and working with veneers, and the results can be seen on the ‘Philadephia residency’ page.”