Major ‘Transformations’ at McWilliam Gallery

A NEW exhibition entitled ‘Transformations’ featuring a collection of works by Berlin born artist Ralf Sander has just opened in the sculpture garden of the F.E. McWilliam Gallery and Studio, Banbridge.

Sander’s recent work investigates ideas of fragmentation and metamorphosis and this new exhibition, which will run until 27 October 2012, is inspired by history, physics, technology and contemporary social and political issues.

Sander often uses history as a starting point for his work and his personal experiences of moving between cultures and being an outsider have resulted in a diverse body of work that is linked by the idea of change and transformation.

The work exhibited in the F.E. McWilliam Sculpture Garden includes ‘The Medusa Touch’. Viewed from one perspective, this large, stainless steel sculpture presents an image of Medusa, the snake haired creature from Greek mythology who could turn men to stone with one glance.

Sander’s depiction of the Medusa is based on Caravaggio’s paintings of 1596/7 in which he used his own face as the model. From another perspective, the image revealed is the face of Osama Bin Laden. Despite his death in May 2011, Bin Laden’s image still represents the threat of al-Qaeda and militant Islam.

At the same time as creating new work for the F.E. McWilliam Gallery, Sander has been working on a major commission in Korea which will result in a monumental sculpture for the new Busan Film Center. Based on similar principles to the work exhibited in Banbridge, ‘Lady-Bird Transformation’ combines a silhouette of a female figure with an image of a sea-gull, the official bird of the bustling seaport of Busan. A maquette for this work will be exhibited in the F.E. McWilliam Studio.

Curator Dr Riann Coulter said: “Ralf’s work has a lot of affinities with F.E. McWilliam’s sculptures. Both artists were inspired by surrealism and Ralf’s key themes of transformation and fragmentation were also important to McWilliam.”

Reader in Fine Art at the University of Ulster, Sander is currently based in Seoul, Korea. He has had solo exhibitions in Germany, Poland, Denmark, Korea and Northern Ireland and his work has been included in group exhibitions throughout the world.

Sander’s work can be viewed in the sculpture garden Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm From 3 June the gallery will open on Sundays from 1pm to 5pm. More details about the gallery and this new exhibition can be found at www.femcwilliam.com