Drawing for sculpture, 1956
Signed and dated lower left
Pencil and watercolour on paper
10 3/4 x 8 3/4 in, 27.3 x 19.4 cm
After a fairly conventional training in painting at the Norwich School of Art, the major turning point in Meadows’s career came during the mid-1930s when he visited the studio of...
After a fairly conventional training in painting at the Norwich School of Art, the major turning point in Meadows’s career came during the mid-1930s when he visited the studio of Henry Moore in Kent. Following this meeting, Meadows turned his back on painting to work as Moore’s assistant.
During the Second World War Meadows served for the RAF. After the War he returned to his studies at the RCA, where he set up a foundry that was used by his colleague and fellow participant in the Biennale of 1952, Geoffrey Clarke.
Meadows’s experiences during the War were to become pivotal to his work. Whilst serving on the Cocos Islands in the South Indian Ocean, Meadows observed the movements and behaviour of the crab, which was to become a signature motif in his sculpture during the 1950s. Meadows utilised the crab and other animals such as birds, as described by Alan Bowness, as “vehicles for the human figure”. For Meadows this became a means to sidestep the overwhelming influence of Moore on British sculpture and to create his own distinct vocabulary of form.
In these two preparatory drawings, Meadows is playing with a hybrid form of the crab and the cockerel, as an expression of the inner animalistic nature of humanity. Meadows uses this animalism in an almost paradoxical manner, to express both humanity’s inherent brutality and feeling of vulnerability.