Visual arts: Sculptural variety show

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Sculpture has been one of the particular strengths of British art for the last 50 years or so, though it is some time since the expression itself had any clear meaning. These days, video and performance and works in all manner of mixed media shelter under the same umbrella, so it is hard to know where to start with an exhibition on a theme as specific, and yet as broad, as British figurative sculpture.

The Flowers East Gallery has set itself just this task for its summer show, "British Figurative Art Part Two (Sculpture)", the fourth in a sequence which began with "British Abstract Art Parts One (Painting) and Two (Sculpture)" a couple of years ago and was followed last summer with "British Figurative Art Part One", an exhibition which allowed the gallery to explore its favourite and most familiar territory - the world of figurative painting.

At first glance, Flowers East does not look so at ease with figurative sculpture - perhaps it is not really a sculpture gallery, though it has approached this show in a sensible way by sticking to work that is object-based, thereby excluding all sorts of other things which would have further muddied the waters.

The exhibition consists of some 40 pieces and, naturally, the selection is highly subjective. The show does not pretend to be a comprehensive overview of its theme, yet the gallery has managed to give some sense of the success and diversity of recent British sculpture by including the more mature talents of men such as Kenneth Armitage, William Turnbull and Eduardo Paolozzi alongside the young guns of the current scene, Don Brown and the Chapman brothers.

Needless to say, the choice would not be mine, and doubtless mine would not be anyone else's, though I am in full agreement with the inclusion of Stephen Cox, Anthony Caro and Philip King. I would have liked to have seen more work that involved carving in either wood or stone for (even with all the confusion about what sculpture is these days) carving is to me, in my old-fashioned way, what sculpture is really all about.

`British Figurative Art Part Two (Sculpture)': Flowers East Gallery, 199-205 Richmond Road, E8 (0181-985 3333) to 20 Sept