Evoking the spread wings of a bird in flight or a dancer’s graceful bends, the paper sculptures created by Richard Sweeney convey movement through an intricate display of folds and pleats. The monochromatic works, which the West Yorkshire, England-based artist manipulates into their final shapes with small cuts, wet creases, and dabs of adhesive, are abstract and asymmetrical in form, inspiring a range of associations. “People see different things—animal skulls and a spinal column being a few of my favorites mentioned so far,” he tells Colossal.
Sweeney’s process has remained largely the same during the last few years, and he still crafts a variety of malleable, modular forms like the pliable helix shown below, although he now gravitates toward more organic shapes that appear to flow from one end to the other. “I like to go out walking in the countryside, so there is plenty to see there that influences me—birds in flight, streams, and rivers, cloud formations—so I’ll make sketches and take photographs and let that guide my sculptural work. I don’t usually work with a particular form in mind,” he says, noting that each sculpture often takes multiple weeks to complete.
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Pick up a copy of Sweeney’s Fluid Forms for a deeper look at his practice, and if you’re in London, stop by Deirdre Dyson before January 14 to see his pieces in person. You can also follow his latest works on Instagram.
Detail of “Flight Sequence”
Detail of “Cloud”