Alan Wheatley Art

Bernard Meadows Artist Biography  British, 1915-2005

Bernard Meadows first studied art at his home town in the Norwich School of Art from 1934-36. He went on to study at the Royal College of Art, London from 1938-1940 and 1946-48, where he eventually became Professor of Sculpture later in his career.

Bernard Meadows worked as a studio assistant to Henry Moore from 1936-1939, a relationship which he cherished, but also sought to distance himself from, through the subject matter of his work.

In 1941-1946, Bernard Meadows served in the RAF and was stationed in the Coco Islands in the Indian Ocean where the greatest natural threat, were the gigantic crabs that roamed the island.

Bernard Meadows began to produce sculpture using these crabs, and later, birds, as a way of escaping the influence of Moore. These subjects provided Bernard Meadows with a way of depicting extreme violence without resorting to the human figure. Their forms often oscillated between crab or bird, and the barrels of guns, the fuselage of plane wrecks with protruding limbs resembling those of humans, rather than birds or crabs.

Bernard Meadows work was typical of 1950s British sculpture, which is characterised by forms of aggressive or wounded animals used to reflect the mood of post-war anxiety which Herbert Read classified as a 'geometry of fear.'

A modest man of wit and intelligence, Bernard Meadows was a wry observer of humanity and created an enduring set of sculptural images to express the often discomforting truths he felt about the world and man's place in it.

< back to Artists