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A rock appears to hover over a woodland pool, reflected in the still water with the surrounding trees

David Bethell - The Weight of Things

Polystyrene, wood, fibre-glass & paint, courtesy the artist & Urban Wilderness, 2020

A rock appears to hover over a woodland pool, reflected in the still water with the surrounding trees

The Weight of Things

Polystyrene, wood, fibreglass & paint

Courtesy the artist & Urban Wilderness, 2020

Gently hovering above the waters of the pool by the Lime Kiln, David Bethell’s sculpture The Weight of Things evokes a feeling of being out of place and somehow adrift. Where has it come from? What is it doing there? Has it been detached from its natural habitat? Perhaps a rocky outcrop further up the valley, or maybe hacked from the nearby quarry? Defying gravity and the laws of nature, the rock inhabits its own dimension, where it cuts a lonely figure within the landscape.

Its primary quality, its weight, is invalidated by its lonely hovering; it is destined to wander, “lonely as a cloud” (to quote Wordsworth) above the waters that would engulf it. Conversely, the hovering rock could be seen as freed from the weight of its destiny, magically singled out as a symbol of hope. At this moment in time, the rock is trapped between waiting to crash or carry on floating, maybe about to take flight even further.

David Bethell

David Bethell graduated with an MA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins in 2017.  His work can be associated with the construction of wooden sculptures.  These constructed objects often represent makeshift machines or contraptions. These are then tested by the artist or performer/s even the viewer in attempt to go beyond their own capabilities. A test that is measured by the limitations of space, materials and an ambition to do something beyond its own expectation. There is a sense of ‘becoming’, change within the material and its surrounding to reach the far fetched goal. And as a result these attempts often end in failure.  The works manifest themselves with an oddness that can relate to the imaginative and real a like.  A sense futility, disbelief, humour, hope, magic, endurance, imperfections and empathy can all be seen within his work.

He has had solo shows at Home in Manchester with ‘Fleeting Flights’, Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, Wolverhampton Art Gallery and various site specific commissions that included ‘The Weight of Things’ at Keele University. After Graduating in 2017 he was selected by Charlie Smith Gallery in London be included in the Young Gods Exhibition. Other selected group shows included the Spheres 7 in Paris, Bluecoat Gallery, and Synthetic Landscapes with Meadow Arts. He won the Worcester open in 2013 with his short film ‘Stacked against all Odds’.

He graduated from Staffordshire University in 2005 with a First Class Hons degree in Fine Art. After graduating, he cofounded AirSpace Gallery with Andrew Branscombe. giving Stoke-on-Trent its first Contemporary Art gallery. He co-curated, and worked with over 500 artists, from 2006 to 2012. He also founded Conjunction, co-curated Stoke on Trent's first Contemporary Art Biennial and ran this in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012.