This week, Adam takes a closer look at Emily Young’s sculpture Maremma Warrior Head V, and the garden that surrounds it.
Tucked out of the way, near the Parkside entrance, you can find my favourite part of the gallery: The Alex Bernstein Garden. Hidden from view from the Art Garden and Whitworth Park by a red brick wall lies our walled garden and orchard. The Alex Bernstein garden is a peaceful part of the gallery and is perfect for a moment of quiet contemplation, as well as being a popular lunch location for many of our staff members. The garden is also home to our resident honeybees; their hive can be spotted in the corner. We don’t recommend venturing too close, but watching from a distance as they fly in and out with their nectar is very satisfying.
If you look closely amongst the flowers, crab-apple and quince trees you may notice that the Alex Bernstein Garden is not only a home for nature. A lone sculpture stands nestled amongst the brush. This sculpture is ‘Maremma Warrior Head V’ by artist Emily Young. Easily missed at a quick glance of the garden, the sculpture stands atop a plinth about four feet high. On a summers day when the plants have their leaves, the stone head almost looks as if it is levitating, hanging amongst the greenery.
Maremma Warrior Head V is one of a series of ten stone heads that Emily Young has sculpted. The heads are sculpted from a type of brachiated quartz native to the area surrounding her studio a few hours from Rome. The stone is cut through with natural crystals which add a unique texture and colour to each sculpture. One side of Maremma Warrior Head V is carved smooth and the peaceful, almost serene face is clearly visible, while on the other side the stone is left in its harsh natural state; a sharp contrast, but equally beautiful.
Emily Young explains that each head is characteristic of different aspects of human nature, not necessarily something that can be seen, but something that she herself can feel. The heads represent the frailty and quickness of human life alongside the strength and long-lastingness of stone, an embodiment of humanity’s place within nature. Not always in harmony, but always a part of it. A poignant image when it is becoming more and more clear that despite the damage that we are causing to the natural world, when we are no longer here, the natural world will persist.
Emily Young is a born creative. She focussed primarily on painting as a young woman but turned to stone carving in the early 1980’s. Emily Young’s sculpting aims to bring the planet and people closer together; she believes that stone has the potential to embody human characteristics and allow us to learn more about our own humanity.
When we’re open again, next time you visit the gallery try not to miss out on a visit to the Alex Bernstein garden to catch a glimpse of Maremma Warrior Head V. The door is located just to the right of the lift at our Parkside entrance. Ask a member of staff and we’d be happy to point you in the right direction!