Saturday 1 September 2012

To make you smile.

I went to the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath the other week to see an exhibition by Graham Dean of large watercolours featuring Olympic and paralympic athletes. The work was on show in the spacious main gallery. The room was silent, but not so the small display area next door. What was going on in there? It sounded like a lot of fun - and it was!
The space was full of people turning handles, swinging pendulums, smiling and laughing with delight, adults and children having an equally enjoyable time reacting to the automata created by Robert Race.
I didn't have my camera with me but returned yesterday, before the close of the exhibition
to record this magical make-over of found objects, driftwood, shells and rusty bits and pieces.

Some of the most simple pieces were also the funniest; by making the pendulum swing the cow's eyes moved from side to side. Quite ridiculous!

The little man balanced
and the marble rolled from side to side.

This beautiful piece, called 'Happy Valley', has counter-balanced birds that move gently in the current of air. In the valley bottom sit two small white rabbits.
Happy Valley.
I loved the boats with their steady paddling

or their rowing action on a sea swell.
The main exhibition can be glimpsed through the doorway,
 enormous watercolours on a patchwork of joined-together sheets of paper. Why is big so often thought of as better? 
These tiny 'moon priests' with their shell head-gear give me far more satisfaction.

I came home and in the evening photographed the moon through the apple trees
remembering Neil Armstrong.
Himself has made quite a number of moonlight carvings.
"Night punt, Oxford." Woodcarving by Peter Murphy.
Moonlight and water,
"Mattea Cabot's Dream." Woodcarving by Peter Murphy.
what a magical combination.


  1. How wonderful those automata are. What a talented man Robert Race is!

    1. It was fascinating to see how he had selected discarded items, of no value prior to his inventive use.

  2. Replies
    1. By the final day of the exhibition nearly everything had been sold, so obviously everyone liked his work as much as I did!

  3. hi
    Can I use the first picture?