Stone is stuff from which the British sculpture tradition is hewn. Bronze and wood, steel and the junk of mass consumerism, film and video even have all played a part but the roots of the sculpture in this country are rock solid. It's a story that weaves its way from grandeur of ancient standing stones to the delicacy of ecclesiastical carvings and on to beginnings of modernism and the celebration of what Moore and Hepworth called "truth to materials".
Nicolas Moreton is a modern master of the medium of stone-carving but with a strong sense of tradition. His work somehow suggests the primordial power of the stuff with which he wrestles so deftly but has much of the subtlety of the great but anonymous stone-masons of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries where one material seems transformed into another before our eyes.
His current project promises to be a National Stone Carving Tour de Force. On one level it takes sculpture back into the past and offers the chance - without hubris - to compare the traditional with the contemporary; on another, it promises to be a vast and ambitious performance - where the private world of the studio is made public and the mysteries - not to mention the sheer physical effort of working the stone - are laid bare.
Tim Marlow. Art Critic and Director of Exhibitions for the White Cube Gallery. London. 2004.
"For a full decade I have taken an interest in Nicolas Moreton, one of the very few young British sculptors who understands and exploits the nature and character of stone in which he works. Not for him the welded detritus of the steel-yard or the ready-made object cast in bronze by other hands - he needs the stone, its colour and texture, rough-hewn and polished smooth, for it is not only his material but his inspiration too. He sees within the quarried block the imaginings of his mind's eye when to the rest of us the inert stone might as well be a mere doorstep. Then from its rock-hard fastness he retrieves the soft and swelling forms that are the sensual expressions of his fantasy. In another man's hands these might seem deliberately erotic, but in Moreton's they have an ancient innocence that reaches far back to European civilisation's first fumbling attempts to embody symbols of human fecundity - he has, as it were, polished the paleolithic Venus of Willendorf. I know no artist more honestly instinctive nor less self-conscious in his imagery, yet the instinct, the aesthetic force that drives him, is disciplined by his uncompromising respect for the material qualities of stone and the expert and refined techniques with which he works it. Some years ago I commissioned a piece from him; it sits in my study and the daily pleasure I derive from it is, I am certain, inexhaustible."
Brian Sewell Art Critic. 2004
"The shear size, scale and subject matter of this exhibition has already provoked many powerful reactions"
"Spectacular stone sculptures" Western Daily Times. July 2002
"Passages" exhibition featured on "Animal Park" BBC 1. 2002.
"Passages" Interview with BBC Wiltshire Sound. 2002.
"… I feel this exhibition gives the viewer the opportunity to fully appreciate an old and established art form"
Extract from the introduction by Paul Weger from the book "Solid State"
"Traditional Home Magazine." New York .USA. 2000.
"Primordial Embraces Modernity" by Mac Griswold. New York Times. 20th May, 1999.
"Women have on the whole dealt more surely in the last decade or so with the topics that lie at the core of Moreton's work, and I find it deeply fascinating to see them now being re -attempted from the male point of view. It takes a big, self -confident talent to tackle the subjects that are central here, and tackle them so successfully."
"Elements" exhibition Edward Lucie - Smith. Freelance art critic.
Art Review 1999.
Moreton, you could say, is the new kid on the block. His work is more observant, intense and more to do with everyday life than that of the more established names. And is cheaper, too - until that long overdue telephone call comes from the Tate Gallery
Art critic of The Independent. 14th August,1998
"His work should be in public places by now"
Art Mart by John Windsor. The Independent. 2nd June,1998
"He praises, and has always praised, human life."
"Romancing The Stone" by Byron Rogers
Sunday Review.The Sunday Telegraph 27th July 1997
"His career is now firmly established with critics talking about him as the natural successor to Moore and Hepworth"
"Pregnant Stone" Rutland Times. July 1997
"An artists diary" Art Review. February,1996.
"The making of the Conversation" BBC Look East
Moreton is that rare creature in contemporary art, a sculptor who can see a form in stone and cut it from the anonymous block with the same skill as the ancient Greeks or Michaelangelo, knowing what it's colour will be when rough-carved, and how it will change when the hard surface is polished to a gloss, exploiting the transition and every vein and change in tone.
He is, among his generation, unrivalled in technique. As for his vision - robust and mischievous sensuality has served him well, his almost innocent eroticism held in check by style, modesty inherent even in his most extreme trans-sexual conventions: he is an Eric Gill of sorts, and someone should let him loose on a big building.
Art critic of the Evening Standard
I have seen little work as impressive and so un-derivative for a long time.
George Melly - Jazz Musician and Art Critic
"Talking Sculpture" A series of one hour radio programmes with Steve Riches for BBC Radio South and East. Broadcast between 1992-95.
"Loose Ends" BBC Radio 4. January, 1992
"Stone carvers can still make us believe not only that something is true but that it always has been"
"New carvings" Lamont Gallery.- Charles Hall, Art Review, February, 1992
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