Major British sculptor Lynn Chadwick was born in 1914 and studied architecture, working as a draughtsman for firms such as Rodney Thomas’s before beginning his artistic career. His first sculptural works were mobiles created from delicate materials like balsa wood and wire, which gained him critical attention at a solo exhibition at London’s Gimpel Fils Gallery. Later incorporating welding techniques, Chadwick moved to more substantial, weighty materials and was part of a group of artists whose work was termed the “Geometry of Fear.” Alongside other British sculptors of his generation, Chadwick took part in an exhibition in the 1952 Venice Biennale that encapsulated a post-war anxiety and fear that took the form of ravaged, tortured figures and animals.
Chadwick’s mature style incorporates powerful figures, striding in couples or sitting alone, often balanced on slender legs with capes billowing behind them. Pair of Cloaked Figures, bronze casts from 1977, comes from this body of work, employing the artist’s signature symbolism of the square male head and triangular female head. The faceless figures allow for a particular anonymity, and provide a portal by which the viewers can imagine their own narrative. The geometric figures stand in conversation, commanding the room around them with their strong presence, shaping space in as powerful a way as Chadwick’s more imposing outdoor sculptures.