Roy Noakes

Sculptor, Deceased Person

1936 – 2002


Who was Roy Noakes?

Roy Noakes British Sculptor June 10, 1936 - February 9, 2002

All of the young British sculptors who emerged in the 1950s had to engage with the towering international reputation of Henry Moore, and with the associated fallacy that direct carving was congruent with modernity. But at least the weight of Moore’s eminence was a crucial factor in provoking a reaction; Roy Noakes embarked on a fascinating and important journey in a very different direction.

Noakes dedicated his life to evolving an alternative sculptural language, one concerned with transience and lightness, to conveying fleeting appearances and gestures with economy of means - pared down, that is, in the sense of needing to eliminate everything that was extraneous to the inner energy of his forms. He worked outside the mainstream or avant-garde cultural orthodoxies of his time, neither a brutalist, a conceptualist, nor involved with smooth or shiny surfaces that were barriers to expressing the dynamic potential of his materials.

Noakes’s surfaces were active, not static. He aimed to breathe life into clay or bronze, to break down the distance between sculpture and the human form it signified, almost as though blood was coursing through its veins. In more than forty years of widely varied work, there is a common thread in that it all looks alive - spontaneous. However great was his struggle with intransigent substances, the viewer is not conscious of it.

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Jun 10, 1936
  • England
Feb 9, 2002

on July 23, 2013


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