Adrian Gray, the international pioneer of stonebalancing art, is returning to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show for the 8th time this year, bringing his otherworldly sculptures with him, which include two enormous monoliths.
Adrian will show two major stonebalancing sculptures this year, using huge 290-million-year-old Cornish granite boulders balanced as if ‘by a thread.’ One, ‘Heavy is a place on earth,’ stands four metres tall and weighs 11 tonnes.
Both sculptures will be, frankly, unbelievable. To balance rocks of this weight (up to six tonnes each) and scale in such a precarious way will force the viewer to question their perception of reality.
As well as his two monumental balanced sculptures, Adrian will also exhibit ten small indoor sculptures and three garden-sized pieces. Made from fascinating rocks, Adrian’s smaller works will feature natural patterns and shapes formed by quartz and calcite intrusions.
Visitors to the trade stand will also be able to watch Adrian Gray’s unique and meditative stonebalancing process as he balances stones live throughout the day. Adrian Gray’s process can also be seen on his video channel: Adrian Gray – Artist on vimeo.com.
In terms of plantings, Adrian Gray’s trade stand has been designed by Dana Assinder. The theme is naturalistic and wild to reflect the organic nature of Adrian’s work. The stand will feature a mix of flowering perennials and grasses native to the UK. 2023 will be Adrian Gray’s 8th RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Integral to each sculpture is the form and composition of the two stones. Adrian spends a great deal of time in the selection process, choosing rocks for their sculptural elements and unique shapes, “I am drawn to the naturally weathered stones, moulded over the millenniums by the wind and rain.
I can spend days wandering the rock-strewn fields of the farm (where I buy my rocks,) pairing them in my head in different orientations, trying to envisage an improbable composition.
As the rocks can weigh up to eight tonnes, getting them to my outdoor studio is a job in itself, so picking the wrong ones can be a costly error. Lots of big kit is involved!”
Of his 2023 RHS Chelsea Flower Show trade stand, Adrian said, “The hero sculptures on the stand this year will be two of just the four or five I make each year. Although I have been at this for many years now, the job of selecting the stones, trying different compositions, strapping, balancing and filming the process and finally making a safe sculpture cannot be rushed.
“I am always striving to create a sculpture that has the perfect combination of inexplicable balance and naturalistic form, a paradox in itself, but with the aim of amplifying a sense of wonder in the viewer. The puzzling nature of my balances offers a moment of escapism and wonder to the visitors of my stand.”
The two large pieces are naturally weathered, with a covering of lichen and moss emphasizing their ancient past and evidence of their journey through time and space to stand PW230.
The pioneer of stonebalancing art, Adrian Gray (based in Devon, near Axminster), has spent the last 23 years of his life exploring the fine art of balance in any and all types of rock.
His work has evolved to include new ideas and themes, but the predominant feature remains the beauty and seemingly impossible nature of balance – a fleeting state, which to see captured so physically is both moving and hope-inducing.
Using carefully selected weathered stones, he creates balanced sculptures that range in size from desktop balances to monumental 6m installations, which have been sited in public and private spaces across the world.
Adrian has a growing celebrity in the art world, media and with leading horticultural institutions, including the RHS. Previous exhibitions include Equipoise at the Art Trove gallery, the Chaumont Garden festival, and one-man shows in Singapore and Roccoco Garden. Adrian counts Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall as a client, and Kevin McCloud described him as ‘the stone whisperer’ after showcasing a crane-balanced piece on Channel 4’s Grand Designs.
Critics have likened Adrian’s work and its dramatic effect on his audience to the power and presence of the ancient menhirs and stone circles that stud the landscape in which Adrian lives and works.
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