Approved: 12.01.2007

Kathy Dalwood


Approved: 12.01.2007

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

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  • Location: London
  • Contexts: Exhibition, Public art, Studio practice, Technical / Fabrication
  • Artforms: Ceramics, Installation, Sculpture
  • Tags: #figurativesculpture #plasterbust #sculpture #bust #portrait #recycledmaterials, #plasterbust #plastersculpture #figurativesculpture #harewoodhouse #exhibition #yorkshire, #wallsculpture #basrelief #stilllife #plastercast #reliefsculpture, 3d object, concrete figurines, vintage fi, figurative sculpture, busts, small statues, garden statues,, ornamental plasterwork, concre, plaster tiles, plaster friezes, wall, frieze,decorative plaste, ornamental plasterwork,concret, wall frieze, decorative plaste, banquet, cast, cast plaster

Artist Statement

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. Architectural Friezes 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. Studio Blog My blog gives a glimpse behind the scenes in my studio and an insight to the visual perspective which inspires my work.

CV & Education

Selected CV

Solo exhibitions
2017                         'The Plaster Bust Re-imagined' installation at Harewood House,                                           Yorkshire. Until 29th October
2016                         'Secret Society at the Hospital Club. Installation in vitrine in London                                     private members' club

2016                        'After Parkinson', a collaboration with the Norman Parkinson                                                  Archive - 2 plaster busts made in response to his Vogue                                                        Magazine photos. At the Union Club, Soho, London

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 

Group  exhibitions

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
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

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               Profile by Dr Julia Kelly for Open Frequency  

2013                     Review by Kiriakos Spirou
                               Kathy Dalwood's Plaster Busts Exhibition ''Secret Society: A                                            Sculptural Banquet'

2013                  Review by Maria Blyzinsk
                              ‘The Secret Society: a sculptural banquet’

2013                Review by Susie Bubble
                             ‘Busts and Natural Collisions’