United Kingdom 1941 2009
The Welsh-born sculptor Barry Flanagan OBE RA is widely known for his series of monumental bronze hares and other animals depicted in dynamic o are performative attitudes. The hares in particular vested with human attributes or emotions such as jubilation (as seen here), introspection, dejection playfulness and combativeness.
Festive, even heroic in spirit, the colossal and somewhat cartoonish hare of Drummer skips or marches along on its hind legs- as if leading a procession – an Irish frame drum held above its head, a drumstick in the other hand poised to strike the instrument with gusto. Notably, Flanagan’s modelling recalls the rippling, expressive surfaces of works by the French sculptor, Auguste Rodin, an important influence on Flanagan’s art.
In the late 1970s, in a surprising reversal of his earlier embrace of abstraction and unorthodox materials, Flanagan turned instead to figuration and the traditional methods of modelling in clay and casting in bronze.
It was then that the subject of the hare emerged as a recurrent motif in his sculpture; an image inspired by his observing the mysterious, acrobatic, and unpredictable movements of a hare as it darted across a Sussex field. The artist’s fascination with the subject deepened after reading The Leaping Hare (1972) by Welsh author and folklorist George Ewart Evans who discussed the extensive mythology of the animal.