22 cm high
signed and dated on base
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Willsher's band saw sculptures echoe the work of the St. Ives painters in three dimensions, in particular Bryan Wynter's unique canvases. In the Sixties he was regular exhibitor at Heals, Harrods and the Royal Academy summers shows and championed by the likes of Henry Moore and Herbert Read.
When asked to describe the principle behind the works, Brian once shyly explained, “It’s just doodling – in wood”.
His artistic career was not without scandal, which ultimately led him to take a break from exhibiting his pieces and leads one to question the forever unanswered question, "What is art?". In the late Sixties Willsher effectively withdrew from exhibiting after his work was denounced by HM Customs and Excise as "non-sculpture', despite his numbers solo exhibitions, and deny his work the status if fine art. This led to a levy of 40% manufacturing tax for him to bring works back from an exhibition in Australia. It nearly bankrupted Willsher and caused a National outrage, leading Henry Moore to state, "Here's pure sculpture, indeed! More than that, memorable sculpture!". Sir Herbert Read, the art historian and critic described him as, “A master of enigmas, his art propounds beliefs in beauty without precedent.”
Willsher did not return to exhibiting again until the 1990s with shows at the Belgrave and Boundary Galleries. Most recently his work has been subject to a wonderful survey exhibition at Margaret Howell.
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mixed media on board
70 by 65.5cm
signed and dated 56 lower left; further signed on the reverse