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"To move from portrait sculpture to Cregeen’s designs of form and line is to experience a metamorphosis. Heads, hands, feet, facial features are without detailed delineation and fashioned so that the component parts are strictly subject to the framework of the composition. The great 19th century painter Jean Dominique Ingres commented “one must not dwell too much on the details of the human body so that the members may be, so to speak, like shafts of columns as they are in the greatest masters”. 

'Eski', bronze 1976, stands left leg twisted around the right and arms secured midriff by the firm stomach, like a vine creeping round a pillar: so delicate in design, so robust in form. 'Eski' reappears in the 'Mother and Child', bronze, 1985 with the upward soaring lines of her young son. The boy plays a pivotal role in the composition with its interaction with the figure of the mother her arm in turn protecting him.

The triple void between these two defines the interconnection between the figures.  Florentine art could be a touchstone of that maternal arm with the instinctive bond of mother and child, however formal, in Bronzino’s Giovanni de Medici.....


The biblical encounter and its contrasts between the young shepherd David and the giant Goliath has caught the artistic imagination over time: the flexibility of adolescent youth compared with the ponderous weight of the giant, the boy’s intelligence opposed to brutish force and the embodiment of ‘right’ against ‘wrong’.

Cregeen’s 'Warriors I and II', bronze 1984, differently presented, are in fact the same model. 'Warrior I' could be the biblical David. His slim figure, paint flecked body, chest tapering to the narrow waist then expanding to strong thighs. 'Warrior I'  conveys calm assurance and dignity in its classical stance, arms crossed over chest, indicating surprising composure and unassuming wisdom. In this carefully crafted figure one can see the biblical and youthful hero who was later to take high office.

'Warrior II' is a figure of interlocking v-shaped arms, body and legs with triangular voids stressing the taut physique trained and honed to make every muscle play its part.

It is rendered in an expressionistic mode the artist having used a vocabulary of expression which reveals the inner anguish of the beleaguered. He emphasises this expressiveness with an almost abstract geometric scribbling of the human form in profile.

The head exactly angled is a summation of the body revealing the Warrior’s mental exhaustion, an example of the inner pathos and devastation of war on the individual. This is a Cregeen of harsh martial realism, reminiscent of the stark young images of World War I sculptor Wilhelm Lehmbruck.  The powerful effect of 'Warrior II' embodying the unremitting price of warfare remains and invites our sober contemplation. Its poignancy touches the heart; its symbolism stirs the conscience......

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Eski. Bronze. 1980
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Eski in situ the Chimney Room at the Home in Southern Turkey

The sculptor Aristide Maillol said of Egyptian sculpture that the more immobile their statues the more they seem to move. Whilst differing in construction what a ‘coup’ Cregeen provides in the guise of the golden 'Shadow after the Egyptian' gilded bronze 1986, and Anubis, gilded bronze 2006, with unblinking gaze and latent lively strength, bringing to mind the tomb of the young Pharaoh Tutankhamun, thirty-three centuries ago. The forebear of these Cregeens stands portrayed on the south wall of that burial chamber. 


Cregeen presents an extraordinary figure with his Harlequin, painted bronze,1984. Here is no conventional member of a commedia dell’arte group wooing his Columbine but the suggestion that behind a clown’s antics lies another character, one with a personal individuality. Harlequin stands uncertain, morose, and lonesome, evoking from us a sense of protectiveness in his vulnerability. In the prologue to Leoncavallo’s opera I Pagliacci the clown sings that he must be a comedian before his audience even though the heart is broken, a reminder that even when they appear in their motley they have their own feelings. Cregeen shows that not all the diamond-shaped colours can disguise the human factor beneath the grease-paint pretence.






























In the 1900’s the young Pablo Picasso was seeking to fathom in his Harlequin paintings the elements of sadness in face and posture that belied their professional stage appearance both he and David Cregeen present this dichotomy with great tenderness.......


Ben, bronze 1981, soars. It is a classical work in the sense of Renaissance sculpture when form was meant to reflect the spirit or character of the person painted or sculpted.

With his upward tilt of head and the curves and angles of arms and legs are held in unison by the stability of chest, torso. Cregeen let his model settle into the pose most natural to himself. From this he built the cross-like saltire image formed by the strength of the shoulders and the pattern of limbs, a figure bringing to mind that search of old for the perfect human proportions personified by the Vitruvian Man.  Mathematical calculation and the slide-rule cannot in itself produce the perfect harmony, that aim lies within the artist’s creativity. In Ben the extended curve of the left leg is for instance sculptural authority of the first order, paradoxically producing visual balance......    

Dinka, 1985. has one arm placed outside and one arm within the parted legs the knees acting as a contrasting foil and all knit together by the strong back and neck. What adds such life and movement to the figure are those carefully designed voids that are a Cregeen signature: small triangles above, large beneath, with the central arch created by the space between body and ground. Through the overall effect of these voids, bronze and air create that lightness of the figure, its height and elongated limbs and the elasticity of the figure.......


Vir Nemoris,  bronze 1985, reflects a change in Cregeen's sculptural objectives. The figure is no longer handled with detailed representation of articulated forms. It becomes more expressionistic and involved with mass and spaces between the forms manipulating their proportions and their surface textures, thereby creating areas of formal tension. As with Ben and Carol the disposition of the body parts create triangular shapes which play against the more triangular mass of the torso and the oval of the head framed against the the strong triangular shaped forearms......            


The Cregeen backs are ramrod and upright, or sinuous and curving, in the human models or the sculpted figures. To concentrate only on the front is to miss the all-encompassing element that sculpture provides, an opportunity that Cregeen seizes. His backs are secure, as anchors for the body, providing an extraordinary sense of composure, steadying the body’s action with a pervading inner stillness.

In Carol 1985 The back of the figure is as straight as an arrow. A series of triangular spacial shapes, each echoing the other, are created by the bent legs and the arms stretched down to the clasped hands. These are set against the solid rectangular form of the upper torso’ the cylinder of the neck and the oval head. Her majestic demeanour so clearly impressed  the artist that he made her head the focus; yet the shapes, curves, voids, and even the head itself would have been significantly diminished without that unyielding back. However startling are the Henry Moore figures, however selective what is or is not shown of the body, Moore kept faith with the ‘authority’ of the back. Cregeen shows the same confidence, none more so than in Rockman, bronze 1985-1987..... (From Lois Katz 2018 DAVID CREGEEN -HIS WORK)


 In 2023 Cregeen was to create a relief based on his figure of 'Rockman' featuring its back.

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