John Pickering Documentary
Copyright Rafa Izuzquiza 2007
This website has been created and designed to provide information on the life and work of the British sculptor John Pickering (1934 - 2016).
Pickering worked in relative obscurity throughout his life and the John Pickering Art Foundation is dedicated to bringing his incredible lifetime's work to a wider audience and gaining the recognition it deserves.
Pickering belongs to a generation of post-war Modernist sculptors who valued form and the craft of making above all else. During the 1970’s, he started using geometry and mathematical science, specifically the Inversion Principle, as the inspiration for his work. Despite having no interest in representing the human body, his sculpture is firmly rooted in the twentieth century canon alongside better-known artists such as Henry Moore, Naum Gabo, Edoardo Paolozzi, or Louise Bourgeois.
During his lifetime his work was exhibited at the Royal Society of British Sculptors, the New Art Gallery Walsall, the London gallery of the Architectural Association School of Architecture and a joint exhibition with Fosters and Partners at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge. John’s work can now be seen on the scale that he always envisaged, in a major commission of public art, at Birmingham’s tallest new office building, 103 Colmore Row. The work entitled ‘Equinox’ is lasting reminder of John, his life and his amazing work.
The Inversion Principle
During the 70's Pickering found intuitive art an increasingly inadequate vehicle for his ideas. So, he turned to the rigour of geometry and more specifically, the inversion principle:
It is inversion's infinite generation of spatial transformations and sensual curves which formed the basis of much of his subsequent work.
"From the large body of algebra available to the lover of visual maths, JP borrows one equation only. His chosen equation describes a two-dimensional transformation called inversion, which involves a wholesale reflection of figures about a circle. JP methodically applies the principles of inversion to various primatives (spheres, cylinders, cones, cross-caps and so on) and explores the striking manifestations of their transformation in space ..... the sheer beauty and material sophistication of his sculpture, which involves card cutting and plaster-casting, cannot be accounted for on the basis of mathematics alone."
- George L. Legendre