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Merlion 03-22-2007 05:48 AM

A Sculptor's Nightmare
This is a real nightmare for UK sculptor Ian Brennan who took on a commission to make a life-size statue of a well-loved soccer club manager. After only a few days, the statue was so much disliked by fans that it had to be removed.

Even a reputed sculpture peer publically said he was the wrong man for this commission. See second link below.

Saints to pull down Bates statue

Southampton will pull down the statue of Ted Bates after fans complained it looked nothing like the former legend.

Saints (Southampton) fans criticised sculptor Ian Brennan's 102,000 statue, which is a tribute to ex-Saints player and manager Bates, who died in November 2003.

The club will now investigate whether the existing statue can be altered, or whether to start the project again.

Chairman Leon Crouch said: "Ted was Southampton Football Club and we owe it to him to build a fitting statue."

Crouch added: "With hindsight some things could have been done differently, ...."

Brennan had apologised to supporters and insisted that he would have liked more time to work on the project.

He said: "This was more than a commission, it was a passion. I'm sorry some supporters don't like the result."

Bates spent over 60 years at Saints and critics of the statue claim the body, legs and arms are out of proportion and the facial likeness is a poor one. .....

The statue was unveiled on St Patrick's Day by Bates' widow Mary and it stands in front of St Mary's Stadium.

A club statement said: "Although the Trust and Ian Brennan share the disappointment of the fans over the finished version they are upset with some of the over-the-top comments.....

Saints fan Brennan had to rely on photographs to obtain a likeness of Bates.

He told the Southern Daily Echo: "Sculpting from photographs is not the cleverest way of doing it. ....

Former cabinet maker Brennan has sculpted professionally for more than 20 years and commissions from the Royal Household are among his 90 previous projects.

He added: "I'm a Saints fan through and through and I have worked 10 hours a day, seven days a week on this project.

"I am very sorry a number of supporters do not like the end result and I would be happy to work with the Trust and the club to resolve any issues."

Jackson: You picked wrong man for Ted statue

A MAN considered one of Britain's leading sculptors today joined the row over the controversial statue of Saints legend, Ted Bates, describing it as "a missed opportunity."

Philip Jackson, the man widely acclaimed for a statue of Manchester United hero Sir Matt Busby at Old Trafford, drove to St Mary's to see the bronze statue after being caught up in the furore following its unveiling at the weekend.

The Chichester-based sculptor said: "It is still my opinion that if Southampton want a good sculpture and wish to avoid further embarrassment, they must bite the bullet and start again."

Artist Ian Brennan from Warsash has promised to make amends to the statue by adding five inches to the legs and pay for the changes himself.

But Mr Jackson said he believed the Ted Bates Trust should have commissioned a different artist to create the full-length model of the Saints legend, insisting that 18 months should have been long enough to produce a life-sized art work.

"One seldom gets 18 months to do a job like this. Most start with a completion date and can be done in a year," said Mr Jackson.

advertisement"But 112,000 is about right for a slighter larger than lifesize statue, to include the plinth."....

Blake 03-22-2007 06:20 AM

Re: A Sculptor's Nightmare
This is the problem with doing a portrait of someone who is dead. You can not work with the model and it is very difficult to get a good likeness if you don't have a model.

GlennT 03-22-2007 09:54 AM

Re: A Sculptor's Nightmare
The problems with the sculpture go far beyond the difficulties of working from photos. The drapery of the suit has about 200 more wrinkles than are needed, and add nothing to the understanding of the movement of the suit besides clutter and confusion. The reason the face does not work is because features look wooden. It does look like it was done from a photograph, but using the photgraph as an endpoint. A sensitive sculptor can evaluate a photograph and use it as a starting point, adding life back into the work with their skill and understanding of life beyond the form. The way the surfaces of clothing were treated, which need not rely on photos, leads me to believe that the fault lay with the sculptor's eye, not the acknowledged difficulty of the assignment.


Merlion 03-22-2007 10:51 AM

Re: A Sculptor's Nightmare
I agree with Glenn that the quality of this statue is not good. This picture below shows the whole statue. Other than what Glenn said about the facial features and clothing, you can see for yourself different parts of the statue are clearly out of proportion, a fatal flaw for figurative sculptures.

This link gives a good bio of the sculptor. Ian G Brennan Sculptor and Woodcarver to the British Royal Household There is little or no mention of his other life-size bronze portraits and statues of contemporary public personalities.

ironman 03-22-2007 11:16 AM

Re: A Sculptor's Nightmare
Hi, Looking at that sculpture will give me nightmares!!!!!!!!!!!!!
and he got HOW MUCH MONEY??????
Have a great day,

fused 03-22-2007 12:01 PM

Re: A Sculptor's Nightmare
Unbelievable... I feel for the guy, but it's horrible.

evaldart 03-22-2007 09:42 PM

Re: A Sculptor's Nightmare
That thing is beyond repair. Maybe he should turn it upside down - let it be the base for a nice piece of rock like that other guy.

Aaron Schroeder 03-23-2007 01:40 AM

Re: A Sculptor's Nightmare
And it's bronze, they paid 200,000. There's hope for me yet. I'm sure if you lie on the ground at the base of this piece, it comes together perfectly. Of course it looks all wrong from a pedestrian point of view, that's the genious of it, it forces the viewer to seek the sweet spot of perception.

Funes 03-23-2007 04:39 AM

Re: A Sculptor's Nightmare
I've no idea who the guy was but that sculpture looks almost comical, I can't believe they let it go as far as a bronze.
It's possibly even worse than the statue of Chaplain in Leicester square - which appears to have been based on someone going to a fancy dress party.

Brennan clearly has skill looking at some of his stuff ( none of it's to my taste though ) but his skills don't like in figure work.

How do people get chosen for public statue commissions?

Aaron Schroeder 03-23-2007 09:06 PM

Re: A Sculptor's Nightmare
So bad it's good. If a measure of a good sculpture is that it's memorable and makes you laugh then after further consideration I have to say I love this sculpture. I've been thinking about it all day, the hands, the head, the stumpy legs, and just knowing the artist was happy with it, I've been cracking up all day. Once at art school ( like band camp ) my drawing instructor pull me aside and showed me the " worst drawing ever done ", when I'm down and need a pickme up I think of that drawing, the memory always makes me laugh. So bad yet so good.

sculptorsam 03-23-2007 11:48 PM

Re: A Sculptor's Nightmare
Thanks for the good laugh all around!

Merlion 03-24-2007 03:07 AM

Re: A Sculptor's Nightmare
I feel for this sculptor. But there is a good lesson to be learnt from his taking on this high-profile public art commission, when apparently he does not have much of this kind of sculpture experience.

Aaron Schroeder 03-24-2007 03:49 AM

Re: A Sculptor's Nightmare
I have many mixed feelings and opinions concerning this sculpture, yet as a default I defend it as I have been programed to do. On one level it's really bad, it's obvious but then again it's an honest representation of the artist's time and space, considering it in a different context it would be state of the art, ground breaking work . I feel that this piece has a charm to it, If I want to see great sculpture, it's easy to find, but if i wanted to see a work like this, well, it would be a challenge. Does any one else get some joy from this sculpture, or is it just me. I think it's a hoot, I just love those stumpy legs and those stuck on hands. If I tried my hardest, I could never make a sculpture like this, it's priceless.

Merlion 03-24-2007 05:24 AM

Re: A Sculptor's Nightmare

Originally Posted by Aaron Schroeder
....I think it's a hoot, I just love those stumpy legs and those stuck on hands. If I tried my hardest, I could never make a sculpture like this, it's priceless.

Oh, Aaron. You are on, an admirer. :) You'd better contact them fast, the Southampton Club chairman. Perhaps they'll let you have the statue at the price of the bronze. They're thinking of saving on the cost of a new one by using the plinth and melting the bronze. See below.

You can then place it at your front garden to wave you goodbye in the morning, and greet you on your arrival home. :)

New statue would cost half as much

A TOTALLY new Ted Bates statue would only cost around half of the 112,000 which Ian Brennan's controversial monument cost.

The Daily Echo understands that if a new statue is needed to replace the one unveiled last Saturday, some parts of the existing one could be used again.

Specifically the six-foot high plinth - which contains 50 tons of concrete.

If the current statue is taken down and scrapped, it could be melted down and whoever sculpts the replacement could use the same bronze for the second attempt.

That would also save some money, while labour costs could also be less.

That's due to the fact another artist might not take the 18 months it took Brennan to sculpt Ted Bates.

The Echo can also reveal that all the money raised for the statue - around 112,000 in total - did NOT go direct to Brennan.

The Warsash-based artist was paid in instalments - the Ted Bates Trust have yet to sign off the cheque for the final payment to him - and the sculptor only got the money he needed for his own labour and materials cost.

Trust officials paid other bills, including the London-based foundry where the bronzing of Brennan's clay sculpture took place last week.

It is generally accepted that a new statue will be erected to replace the one which has been derided ever since it was unveiled. That could be taken down as early as today.....

dilida 03-24-2007 10:18 AM

Re: A Sculptor's Nightmare
I've always wondered how sculptures that are clearly not what was wanted go ahead and make it into bronze? Aren't most originals approved before they make it this far? The poor public just kinda has to take what some committee decides is "good", so unless it's really offensive, they seem to except it, and chalk it up to something about art they don't get. But what about these commitees? How do they decide to go ahead with something they had to have concerns about? Anyone had any experience with this sort of thing? Wouldn't it be better for the group responsible to say " hey, sorry but this isn't what we had in mind"?


Merlion 03-24-2007 11:14 AM

Re: A Sculptor's Nightmare
Dilida, my guess is that the club chairman Crouch is very much to be blamed for this very embarassing outcome. He might have sensed it, which is why he has offered to pay from his pocket for a new statue. This is after all, a football (or soccer) club.

GlennT 03-24-2007 11:19 AM

Re: A Sculptor's Nightmare
Apparently the committee had better things to do than oversee their project.

I have worked with committees that have a bunch of ideas or input at the beginning, and then once they see that I know what I'm doing, they leave me alone to create the work. Perhaps they may come to see it while in progress, generally more out of curiosity or excitement than a need to critique the work.

It is hard for me to imagine that there was no one either from the committee, the artists family or friends, a passerby, or an intelligent dog, that could not have said to the sculptor, " Hey, buddy, nothing personal, but doesn't that guy look like a dwarf with a large torso?" or " Ted baby, what's up with the tiny legs and wierd body parts? Is this supposed to be Mr. Potato-man?"

Aaron: You are too funny. But I was wondering on what planet this sculpture would have been considered state of the art?


philpraxis 03-25-2007 06:02 AM

Re: A Sculptor's Nightmare
Hahahha... this sculpture is really a perfect match for the football club: it's horrible, the depicted guy looks silly, the sculptor too now, he seems short legged.

We're bordering contemporary art! :D

I had a good laugh, thanks!

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