My sculpture, both on a large and small-scale, centres around the process of casting applied through the media of plaster and concrete. A key feature of my work is that I cast directly from real objects and materials.
Plaster Bust Collection - 21st century re-interpretations of the historical portrait bust.
The collection is a contemporary response to the traditionally sculpted figurative statues and busts of the 18th and 19th centuries, but rather than sculpting in clay or stone, the busts are made by direct casting from real things.
To construct the original sculpture from which the plaster casts are taken, I first 'collage' together all kinds of materials and found objects - fabrics, haberdashery, model buildings and vehicles, plastic packaging, corrugated card, paper, electrical and plumbing parts and much else. The plaster casts made from these originals pick up an amazing amount of texture and detail giving the sculptures a strange air of realism.
The idea of placing architectural monuments, iconic landmarks and random objects on the headdresses was inspired by the intriguing 18th century fad of decorating hats with very large scale, incongruous objects - famously Marie Antoinette adorned a hat with a huge ship in full sail.
The references and objects chosen are quite diverse but are linked by my perception of forms as extremely sculptural in nature - whether an architectural structure, a bulldozer, a jet fighter or a book or the extreme three-dimensional headgear and costumes designed by the likes of Junya Watanabe or Alexander McQueen.
Unexpected juxtapositions of theme and scale are also an important element of the sculptures.
Secret Society - a Sculptural Banquet
Solo exhibition at Pitzhanger Manor, London (Spring / Summer 2013)
For the exhibition of busts at Pitzhanger Manor - which was 18th century architect Sir John Soane's 'country' retreat - I made a plaster banquet as a way of creating a 'live' event for them. Although at a glance seemingly glamorous and luxurious, in fact all the banquet objects are cheap, every-day items like plastic flowers, fruit and cutlery, beer cans, paper plates, charity shop glasses and discarded packaging such as take-away cups, chocolate boxes and cigarette packets. Coating these disparate items in plaster gives them not only uniformity but also an air of sophistication.
But in fact this is a kind of 'anti-luxe' which has become a key concept as the busts collection has developed and I am increasingly used low-key, discarded materials from which to construct the sculptures.
Exploiting the convolutions of the casting process and the interplay between positive and negative, I work with reversals of original imagery, creating negative indentations on the sculpture's surface.
Architecture, architectural ornament and engineered structures have all been important references for the work as far as form and imagery are concerned.
For two public sculpture commissions I introduced figurative imagery and cast directly from various motifs which I then enlarged with a special polymer mould - making technology.
See these commissions on my website: St David's Shopping Centre, Cardiff &
Cynon Valley Hospital, Mountain Ash, S.Wales.
Commissions & Collaborations
I've undertaken many commissions for private and commercial clients including creating a range of Habitat Design Store and an installation of plaster busts for Louis Vuitton.
My range of sculptural Concrete Planters are also available to commission.
My blog gives a glimpse behind the scenes in my studio and an insight to the visual perspective which inspires my work.
CV & Education
2015 ‘Secret Society at Paul Smith’ Plaster Bust installation, Mayfair, London
2015 ‘Secret Society at Bergdorf Goodman’ New York.
Plaster banquet & busts installation
2014 ‘Secret Society – a Ballroom Banquet’
Holburne Museum, Bath
Installation of plaster busts at a specially created 7m plaster ‘banquet’
2013 ‘Secret Society – a Sculptural Banquet’
Pitzhanger Manor, Ealing, London.
An installation of plaster busts at a specially created 4m plaster ‘banquet’ and throughout the historic house.
2013 ‘Secret Society at Designer’s Guild’ Plaster banquet installation
Kings Road, London
2015 ‘Sweet 18’. Exhibition of art, design & fashion referencing the 18th century
Plaster busts installed in historic castle, Antwerp, Belgium
2014 ‘Secret Society – a Last Supper’ Plaster Banquet installation in the exhibition ‘Odyssey’
curated by Bo Lee Gallery at St Edmund & Martyrs Church, London
2014 ‘Secret Society – an Elizabethan Banquet’ Plaster banquet installation at Doddington Hall, Lincolnshire
Public sculpture commissions
2014 Llanedeyrn Subway, Cardif
12 relief sculptures
2011-12 Cynon Valley Hospital, S. Wales
‘Frieze’ 50 sq m plaster frieze for reception atrium
Public art consultancy: Celfwaith
2008-09 St David’s 2, retail development, Cardiff.
‘Four Friezes’ (four 9m long plaster friezes in circular atrium)
Public art consultancy: Safle
Design & sculpture commissions
Ongoing Commissions from architects & interior designers for bespoke architectural friezes and sculptures in private and commercial projects
Sculptures purchased by interior designers for clients in UK, Europe & USA
2016 Hilton Bankside. London Installation of 12 busts in Executive Lounge
2015 Two plaster busts specially commissioned for Sanayi 313 Gallery, Istanbul. Turkey
2014 Monaco Hotel Group, USA. Plaster busts specified for 5* hotels
2014 Rocco Forte Hotel
2013 Tally Weijl, fashion brand, Vienna.
Installation of plaster busts in re-launched store.
Designer: Michael Howells
2011 Louis Vuitton, launch event dinner.
Installation of 40 plaster busts as focus on a 3m banquet table
2007 Habitat Design Store commissioned a collection of porcelain wall pieces and vases
The setsquares collection was distributed world-wide
Publications & Media
All films on Vimeo.com/KathyDalwood
2014 Film: ‘Secret Society – a Ballroom Banquet’ (Holburne Museum)
2013 Film: ‘Secret Society – a Sculptural Banquet’ (Pitzhanger Manor)
2013 Film: ‘High Roller & Friends’. Film of 3 plaster busts by HomeMovi.com
2014 ‘Secret Society’ publication featuring Plaster Bust Collection with essay by Hettie Judah
2011 Design Sponge at Home by Grace Bonney (Pub Artisan) Featuring interior design projects
2010 Romantic Style by Selina Lake (Pub. Ryland Peters & Small) Featuring interiors projects
2003 Garden UK by Rob Cassy (Pub. Conran Octopus)
Work from the Cast Collection (sculpture, planters, tiles)
2001 Concrete Design by Sarah Gaventa (Pub. Mitchell Beazley) Featured work from the Cast Collection of concrete products following her exhibition at RIBA : ‘Hardcore, Concrete’s Rise from Utility to Luxury’.
2015 New York Times T Magazine: Feature about Bergdorf Goodman exhibition
A British Sculpture Prepares for her Bergdorf Debut
2014 Axisweb.org: Profile by Dr Julia Kelly for Open Frequency
2013 Yatzer.com Review by Kiriakos Spirou
Kathy Dalwood's Plaster Busts Exhibition ''Secret Society: A Sculptural Banquet'
2013 a-n.co.uk Review by Maria Blyzinsk
‘The Secret Society: a sculptural banquet’
2013 www.stylebubble.co.uk Review by Susie Bubble
‘Busts and Natural Collisions’