Sculptor Matthew Simmonds Carves Realistic Interiors Into Marble and Stone

published in: Architecture, Art By Kiri Spirou, 29 June 2014

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Matthew Simmonds, Mars Ultor, Carrara marble 2011, Height 41cm
photo © Matthew Simmonds.

When we hear of marble sculptures, we tend to think of the human forms belonging to timeless examples from Greece, Italy and elsewhere. A form is not necessarily a solid, as sculptor Matthew Simmonds points out through his work, which consists of sculptures not of full and defined human bodies, but of empty architectural interiors.

Simmonds, who originally comes from Britain, studied art history before turning to illustration and later stone carving; as a stone carver he has worked on the restoration of several major English national monuments, including Westminster Abbey and the cathedrals of Salisbury and Ely. It therefore comes as no surprise that his work is inspired mainly by sacred buildings such as baroque basilicas and Ancient Roman temples. After honing his skills in fine classical marble ornament carving in Pietrasanta, Italy, Simmonds gained international recognition as a sculptor, exhibiting his work internationally, while his sculptures are now part of prominent private collections around the world.

photo © Matthew Simmonds.

Matthew Simmonds, Elevation V: Santa Maria del Fiore, Firenze 2010 limestone, 60 X 13 X 37cm
photo © Matthew Simmonds.

In architecture in general, particularly the elaborate and monumental interiors of religious buildings,  materials (a stone becomes a flower, a hand, a bird) are transformed and seem to defy the laws of physics as they rise high up in colonnades and majestic domes. Every work of architecture is a victory over Nature and a celebration of Man’s skill and ingenuity. In the sculpture of Matthew Simmonds however, this principle is reversed: Nature overpowers architecture, as if it encases or envelops it: the pristine and elaborate interiors seen in Simmonds’ work are like fossils of buildings, trapped inside the rock into which they have been carved, thus diminishing their otherwise grand and humbling character. This thought-provoking inversion – the building is in the stone and not the other way round – creates a breathtaking shift of perspective, which adds to the otherwise perfectly executed and masterfully composed creations.

One of Simmonds’ more recent works, in a truly unique chimney piece, for a private residence outside Edinburgh, uniquely combines the classical beauty and fine craftsmanship of marble sculpture with contemporary symbols and imagery. The chimney piece was created in close collaboration with the clients, who wanted it to feature symbols that had a particular meaning to them and their family. As a result, Simmonds has carved images of pets, landmarks in Edinburgh, the zodiac signs of the family, as well as other images such as the electric guitar selected by the children and a tall and slender urn draped with a piece of fabric that pays tribute to the family’s ancestors.

photo © Matthew Simmonds.

photo © Matthew Simmonds.

{YatzerTip} Matthew Simmonds is participating in the sculpture exhibition 'on form 14', an exhibition dedicated to stone sculptures (08 June-06 July 2014). The exhibition is taking place at Asthall Manor, Burford, Oxfordshire, which is about half an hour's drive west of Oxford, UK. Tel: 01993 824319.

Matthew Simmonds, Basilica III, Carrara marble 2010, height 29cm
photo © Matthew Simmonds.

Matthew Simmonds, Essay in Baroque Space, Carrara marble 2013, height 49cm
photo © Matthew Simmonds.

Matthew Simmonds, Hidden Landscape, Carrara marble 1999, 50 X 50 X 170cm
2nd International Sculpture Symposium, Verona
First prize winner
photo © Matthew Simmonds.

Matthew Simmonds, Solaris 2010 Carrara marble, height 25cm
photo © Matthew Simmonds.

Study 34, photo © Matthew Simmonds.

Study 34, photo © Matthew Simmonds.

Matthew Simmonds, The Passage 2003 Carrara marble, 40 X 30 X 57cm
First International Sculpture Exhibition, Guilin, China
photo © Matthew Simmonds.

Matthew Simmonds, Vaulted Space, Limestone 2008, height 39cm
Client: Mastercard, Rome
photo © Matthew Simmonds.

Matthew Simmonds, Vaulted Space (detail), Limestone 2008, height 39cm
Client: Mastercard, Rome
photo © Matthew Simmonds.

Matthew Simmonds, Essay in Form and Light 2008 limestone, 42 X 40 X 36cm
photo © Matthew Simmonds.

Matthew Simmonds, Trilogy 2010 Carrara marble, max. height 80cm Commissioned for the head offices of Swire Properties, Hong Kong.
photo © Matthew Simmonds.

Matthew Simmonds, Trilogy 2010 Carrara marble, max. height 80cm Commissioned for the head offices of Swire Properties, Hong Kong.
photo © Matthew Simmonds.

Matthew Simmonds, Trilogy 2010 Carrara marble, max. height 80cm Commissioned for the head offices of Swire Properties, Hong Kong.
photo © Matthew Simmonds.

Matthew Simmonds,Basilica II 2007 Carrara marble, 56 X 39 X 38cm
photo © Matthew Simmonds.

Gothic Passage, photo © Matthew Simmonds.

Gothic Passage (detail), photo © Matthew Simmonds.

Matthew Simmonds, Chapter House 2007 limestone, 10 X 10 X 12cm
photo © Matthew Simmonds.

Matthew Simmonds, Elevation I 2004 limestone, 49 X 11 X 30cm
photo © Matthew Simmonds.

Matthew Simmonds, Chapter House III, Limestone 2013, height 34cm
photo © Matthew Simmonds.

sources:

Matthew Simmonds

  • friend
    Ven KAKUMANI | 2014-07-02 14:38:30

    Incredible,fantastic! MS deserves the highest praise for his concepts and meticulous detail and finish. And i will start right away trying to do what he has done. Good luck to myself .

  • friend
    hay kas | 2014-07-23 01:46:54

    top........ amaizing.......very good

  • friend
    vanessa | 2014-08-28 21:18:41

    divino

  • friend
    Adriana | 2014-09-26 04:11:09

    Espetacular. Tudo com muito detalhe, muito real. Gostaria de poder compartilhar no meu instragan colocando os créditos do profissional. Posso ? Obrigada! Adriana

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