Arabella graduated from Oxford in 1995 with a masters degree in English Literature, spending the next six years working as a fund manager for a global investment bank. Yet she was never comfortable in this role, and never stopped looking for different ways to represent the world. Eventually in 2001, with hardly a backward glance, she left a promising career in the City to pursue the even greater challenge of following her first love, sculpture.
She studied figurative sculpture at The Art Academy in Southwark, from where she graduated with distinction in 2004. Her original talent and the unique quality of her work was recognised by receiving an invitation on graduation to stay on as a resident artist and teacher, a role she accepted for a further 3 years.
Since then, she has worked hard at creating a unique voice for herself and has received increasing recognition and praise for her work. It has won numerous awards (most recently the Ridgeway Prize for Best Sculpture at the Chelsea Arts Society) and consistently sells in art fairs and galleries in the UK and abroad. Her sculptures can now be found in many private collections around the world.
Statement of Work
‘My work is figurative and based on observation, mostly recorded in sketch books, which I carry around with me at all times, but also on scraps of paper, receipts, the backs of envelopes’. This recording, often only a scribbled line, or suggestion of a form, is the starting point for a long process of development in the studio, where their components get rearranged and refigured, until they take on a new and distinct identity of their own.
The challenge for me has always been to keep the freshness, or ‘feeling’ of the original sketch in the finished sculpture, and it is quite normal for me to have made and destroyed four or five versions of the same piece before deciding finally to cast it into bronze. It is if that original idea held inside it some pre-existent, elusive truth that I must try to pin down without getting in the way myself. Generally, sculptures ‘fail’ when I have tried too hard to direct operations.
The sculptures are figurative, that is, recognisably human, in essence if not in detail. Anatomically speaking, liberties have been taken, but they are based on a sound understanding of the human form, and they convey an impression of weight and structure that rings true with the viewer. The figures seem to tell a story, although they are never so explicit that the viewer doesn’t have to ‘fill in the gaps’, to struggle a little for meaning. Mostly they talk about identity and relationships, and about the struggle to find meaning in a fast-moving and disposable world.’