"This wonderful exhibition started way back in 2018 because I thought it a fine thing to do.
As a sculptor myself, I understood that many artists need to have the public see their works and there are many more gifted artists out there than there are venues to show their work.
I approached the majestic manor that is Shaw House, set in magnificent lawned grounds, and enquired as to whether such a show could be realised and their response was absolutely yes. The shared enthusiasm of both parties have propelled this adventure forward and ever upwards.
The Altered States Open Air Sculpture Exhibition opens every Summer for 2 months and welcomes all people possible by having free entrance and a walk round this most magnificent of houses - refreshments are also available at the cafe on-site.
Each year, I aim to display up to 70 sculptures crafted by about 25 sculptors, all to be viewed in these most luxuriant of rural landscapes. The location in Newbury is easily accessible by feet, bicycles, cars (with ample parking) and by railway. Newbury is an hour's travel from Paddington, London.
It is open 7 days a week from 11am-4pm and very often there are other activities - some theatrical, some musical - happening within the grounds. Photographs are encouraged, as are children, and dogs on a lead.
Our exhibition had a particularly positive effect after the claustophopia of covid and was one of the few venues open for business.
I travel extensively round England, hunting and gathering pieces for the show and seeking out sculptors who are suitable for display. I am most discriminate about my requirements which is that pieces are to be over 600mm high, robust for outside location, exhibiting a high level of craft, a vision of imagination and above all else a visual delight.
I probably turn away more potential works than I accept, but if I like the work, then it gets in the show. We have had a number of members of the Royal Society of Sculptors in the show, as well as many other spectacularly well-qualified artists. I am always delighted when artists approach me with a desire to submit their work, and would encourage you to get in touch with me if you consider your work worthy of inclusion. There is a submissions link in the menu at the top of this page.
Evidently 5500 people share my aesthetic as that was the footfall last year in 2022. We have had 80 sculptors exhibited thus far…
I hope you will be able to join me in my passion for this most magnificent of shows."
“I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd
Of mirror-polished steel Windmills,
Beside the path betwixt the trees,
Slowly spinning in the breeze.
Continuing I felt inclined
To study shapes of sculpted clay:
A red Fox, free formed figuline.
Amazing talent on display!
Upon those fifty-eight I glanced.
They drew me in, transfixed, entranced…
I danced between them all that day,
Enthralled, inspired…they ‘spoke’ to me,
Urging me to slip away
And write some jocund poetry.
To start, I plagiarised some verse
From William Wordsworth. It gets worse:
From Altered States to altered minds,
With LSD inspired woodwork.
Articulated Shark you’ll find
Amidst the branches where it lurks.
Recumbent Bath-Stone naked lady,
To ‘Landing Owl’ by Diccon Dadey.
Eventually my eyes did meet,
Mirage-like in a Desert’s heat,
Some slender ladies, standing tall
On long, lean legs, their feet so small.
Spied Augurs bored from ‘middle earth’.
A phallic pole’s impressive girth.
A large beast’s head…one, or two?
That reminds me: Buy Gorilla Glue.
A lacelike, rusted Belvedere.
Wooden Orbs and Resin Spheres…
I gazed…and gazed… but little thought
What wealth this show to me had brought.
Until, upon my bed I lie,
Alone, in meditative mood,
I picture them in my mind’s eye
And feel a sense of gratitude
For Altered States…my head it fills,
And spins like polished steel Windmills.
Inspired by Altered States open air Sculpture Exhibition 2021.
I, Ken Rich, being of sound mind and stone-cold sober, hereby declare that no mind-altering substances were used in the composition of these words.
Furthermore, ‘figuline’ is not a spelling mistake, so look it up!
All other smelling pistakes, poor punctuation and dubious rhyming structure are purely intentional and carefully designed to enhance your reading experience.