“If you look at one spot, you can see every single thing around you,” says contemporary British sculptor Richard Hudson, standing in the bright sun of The Douglas hotel’s outdoor terrace at Parq Vancouver. “If you’re looking at bronze or a piece of wood, it is what it is. This just adds something else.”
Standing at 250 centimetres and brandishing a riveting reflective surface, Tear is one of the polished mirror steel sculptures flown here from the United Kingdom as part of Hudson’s exciting Canadian debut. Recognized for his soft lines, organic shapes, and abstract re-imaginings of common symbols, the Yorkshire-born artist crafts modern pieces at a monumental scale. The 64-year-old began his sculpting career at the age of 42, proving that it’s never too late to find success; his acclaimed works can be found in the private collections of celebrities including Elton John, as part of Sotheby’s annual modern sculpture show Beyond Limits, and even in highly populated spaces such as New York’s Madison Square Garden. With over 50 sculptures situated around the globe, Hudson’s achievements are both mainstream and profound.
“One thing about my work is that it doesn’t matter if it’s this size or small, it still works. That’s why I love the idea of the curve and the line, it’s always continuous,” says the artist, who employs sketches and clay moldings to conceptualize his pieces. “Engineers always work with straight lines and cubes and triangles. Yes, we’re getting curves and things, but the curve, I think, needs a little more respect.”
Brought up in a farming family, Hudson was regularly encouraged by his mother to seek out nature. A talented artist herself, Hudson’s mom was once commissioned by Charles, Prince of Wales to create a miniature dollhouse of his private home Highgrove House in Gloucestershire, but not before being recruited by Alan Turing and contributing to the Second World War’s top-secret Enigma project upon graduating from university. “I didn’t really realize what that meant until I got older,” Hudson smiles, remembering how committed his mother remained to the secrecy act.
It seems creative aptitude remains strong in their family, with Hudson’s two sons both pursuing their passions as artists in their respective fields. His eldest lives in the wilderness, producing beautiful pieces of pottery and wood carvings, while the younger of the two has found great success with modelling-clay paintings that satirize contemporary life. “I’ve taught them always to be magnanimous,” says Hudson, who is now primarily based in Spain. “‘Don’t be selfish with yourself, don’t be selfish with your clients. The more you give, the more you’ll get back.’”
Here on invitation by Liquidity Wines owner Ian Macdonald and Christa Frosch of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, Hudson’s special art exhibition opened to the public on June 16, 2018, speaking to Vancouver’s evolving thirst for sophisticated art. The secret lounge of The Douglas lobby bar D6 held three more works by the artist; while those have already moved on, the opportunity still stands for visitors to witness Hudson’s Love Me and Tear on the D6 terrace until July 6 (and another piece, Love Me Totem, has a permanent home in Parq’s main lobby).
All it takes is one glance to realize that Hudson’s Tear is much more than an outdoor reflective sculpture—it’s a symbol representing melancholy and happiness, and a reminder that water conservation is important to the future of mankind. Beyond that, it sparks a rare moment of introspection that captures the beauty around us, helping us realize why we’re here and what it is we’re doing. Tear is not just an example of exceptional art on a large scale, it’s also a gateway to a new perspective.
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