Father Sky/Uranus was installed today (Wednesday 6 July) outside the University’s Central Library. It stands on a plinth vacated by Barbara Hepworth’s Ancestor I that stood on campus for more than 50 years.
The sculpture, cast in bronze, stands nearly 2 metres tall and depicts a human figure which dramatically changes appearance as the viewer moves around it. The sculpture was selected by the University of Birmingham, having been loaned from Pangolin London gallery for a year.
The sculpture by Glasgow-based artist Zachary Eastwood-Bloom is part of a series of works called Divine Principles, based on the planets of the solar system. To create these works, 3D digital models of Greek gods were sourced, and digitally distorted using satellite images of their eponymous planets. The series explores how humans have attempted to understand the universe from the molecular to the planetary through religion, mythology, geometry, and science.
The sculpture is a combination of a classical human form and an abstracted blurred shape, giving the sculpture an incredibly kinetic appearance.Clare Mullett, Head of Research and Cultural Collections
Clare Mullett, Head of Research and Cultural Collections at the University of Birmingham, said:
“Father Sky/Uranus is concerned with the ways we make sense of the world around us and how these ideas change over time. It explores this through the juxtaposition of modern digital technologies with classical Greek sculpture.
“But Father Sky also brings to mind some key links with the hive of activity that unfold on the sports pitches this summer. The sculpture is a combination of a classical human form and an abstracted blurred shape, giving the sculpture an incredibly kinetic appearance. It moves with you as you move around it. The materiality of the statue, sculpted in bronze, adds to this resonance with the medals to be awarded imminently for extraordinary physical endeavour.”
Principally making sculpture but also video, dance, sound, photography, and drawings, Zachary Eastwood-Bloom explores the notions of human progress in relation to historical ideas, scientific development, and digital technology, as well as the ways in which humans attempt to understand the world around them, using methods such as storytelling, religion, science, or technology.
Zachary originally studied ceramics at Edinburgh College of Art, before going to London to earn his Master’s Degree in ceramics and glass at the Royal College of Art. Whilst studying at the RCA, he began to explore the use of digital technologies in relation to a broad range of materials. This marks a shift in Zachary's practice, in which he began using digital technologies in combination with sculpture and drawing.
Zachary has exhibited widely in the United Kingdom and across Europe, including at the V&A, the Royal Academy of Art, Jerwood Visual Arts, and the British Crafts Council. He has also undertaken a number of public and private commissions, for clients including Adobe, Cambridge University, Aviva, and the 2012 London Olympics. His work is held in public and private collections across the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.