Jack West: Red Sentinel, Yellow Sentinel

Jack West

Artwork’s Title: Red Sentinel, Yellow sentinel

Materials Used: concrete, laser cut brass, laser cut stainless steel, bolts

Studio Based: Somerset UK

Red Sentinel / Yellow Sentinel, 2020, Photo by Corey Bartle Sanderson

Can you tell us about the process of making your work?

It varies a lot really, but a general outline involves me developing ideas in the digital space which frequently influences the physical work I make in the studio. I start sketching things out in CAD, or in Cinema 4D (a CGI program) and then sometimes that transfers into real physical objects – but it also remains in the world of the virtual which can be a lot of fun. Here I’m not pinned down by scale, money or the laws of physics. But I also like playing with materials in their own right, taking pieces of laser cut metal and bending and placing together, ultimately finding ways to keep outcomes unexpected.

How would you define your work in a few words (ideally in 3 words)?

Industrial, totemic, cynical.

How did you come up with this sculpture idea? Is there any story behind this artwork?

I’ve been exploring the idea of gaming for a while now, having made a large table top board game a couple of years ago I wanted to scale up elements of this and produce something that had more stature, I was approached by Contemporary Sculpture Fulmer to add something to the show this year and so it felt like a perfect opportunity to develop the idea of an oversized ‘playing piece’.

What colour is used the most in this artwork?

Blue, red and yellow. Very primary.

Is there any particular message that you wish your viewers can take from this sculpture?

I want there to be a sense of fun with the work, hence the colours, but below this I hope there’s sense of something more sinister. I think this is the core of why I find ‘play’ interesting – it’s both an act of complete freedom but at the same time it can have deeply tactical, almost predatory connotations. This is partly where the blue gradient came in, I’d seen it on giant Amazon fulfilment warehouses by the side of the motorway. I assume it’s an attempt to blend the vastness of the building into the horizon, yet there’s something absurdly futile about this endeavour… as well as something deeply suspect. It’s a sort of a chromatic version of ‘nothing to see here!’. In the same way I hope these sculptures sit somewhere in that middle ground between alluring and menacing.

What would be the best way to exhibit your work?

My work varies in many ways, as said digital work can be viewed on a large screen or on a smartphone. This work was specially created for outside, so these heavy bold works lend themselves to being seen in the open.

Can you mention any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?

I’ve recently been re looking at Piranesi’s drawings, in particular his mad industrial pen and ink works from the 18th century. In a similar vein they reflect a lot of Pablo Bronstein’s work which I’ve always been a fan of. Then I’m also enjoying Holly Hendry’s recent kinetic work, it’s becoming increasingly ambitious which is exciting to see develop.

How do you know when this sculpture was finished?

For me it’s quite a clear process… however I like things to remain a little ‘rough’. That not total laziness – but when using very precise materials, such as laser cut metals, it feels appropriate to keep some kind of tension between the ultra-precise and the more slapdash.

What about the place where you work? What’s your studio space look like?

Well… I’m currently building it! I’ve been setting up a base in Somerset over the last couple of years, it’s been great to be out of the city, so  I figured it was an opportune time to build something in the back garden. As I write there’s just a large mud hole that will soon be filled with concrete…

What does your mum think about your art?

She wishes I was still a painter. I used to paint lovely / fairly uninspiring portraits. I got bored of that and started playing with machinery. However, she’s very supportive… even if she doesn’t quite understand what I’m doing.

Which exhibition did you visit last?

I’ve seen a lot less of late for obvious reasons! Two stand out shows were Oliva Bax’s Mark Tanner Award Show at Standpoint, and then Indrikis Gelzis show at Castor was wonderful – a playful take that sits between painting and sculpture.

Which are your plans for the near future?

Finish my studio! And then from there I hope to use it as a space to show my work and others as well – maybe next summer depending on what state the world is in!

Additional Images

Red Sentinel / Yellow Sentinel, Work shown at Contemporary Sculpture Fulmer 2020, Photo by Corey Bartle Sanderson
Yellow Sentinel, Dyed concrete, laser cut brass, lasercut stainless steel, painted steel, bolts, 2020, Photo by Corey Bartle Sanderson
Yellow Sentinel, Dyed concrete, laser cut brass, lasercut stainless steel, painted steel, bolts, 2020, Photo by Corey Bartle Sanderson

All images are courtesy of the artist



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