For over 20 years, Alan Jack has been creating weird and wonderful sculptures. He makes use of old engineering components and parts taken from disused agricultural machinery. It's a form of recycling, in a way, developing art from scrap metal. And what incredible art it is:
In common with many examples of art which seem on the face of it straightforward to create, the working of these metal components is actually far from easy. Alan Jack has devoted his knowledge and skills in engineering to expert use here. These sculptures are time-consuming and exacting to produce, and he works from no blueprint or standard. His art comes from within, crafted from years of experience and inspired from a deeply held love of nature. He can begin work on a piece with little idea of how it will look when finished. The development of an individual work of art thus becomes a synthesis of craftsman and the components chosen for the task. Each plays an important part in determining the outcome of the completed sculpture.
Examples of Alan's metal sculptures are on public display in several locations, including the "Nature in Art" museum just north of Gloucester, and Newnham Paddox. there are more sculptures on display at John Moore Countryside Museum at Tewkesbury, "Birdland" in Bourton on the Water, Art Parks International at Sausmarez Manor in Guernsey, the Walled Garden in Worcester and Birmingham Botanical Gardens.
Some are also held in private hands, although Alan is not a particularly commercially-oriented artist. His work stems for a passion to create, which has taken him along quite a long personal journey. He can become incredibly wrapped up in a particular project, sometimes going to his workshop in the early hours of the morning to start work. The results of these efforts have brought much publicity, including several television appearances.
The people of Longlevens, Gloucester are also well-acquainted with his work. His front garden contains some of his favourite sculptures and is instantly recognisable to passers-by. What they perhaps have not seen is the plethora of work in his back garden, or the stacks of old farm machinery components awaiting development.
Some of which is rather hazardous, as you can quite imagine. This is perhaps why more of his work is not on public display. Alan explains that the hazardous nature of the sculptures themselves can be off-putting for anxious public bodies in these litigious times. Nevertheless, I think they compliment natural areas very well, particularly environments like arboretums and parks, and his work is perfectly placed to be snapped up by collectors, public and private alike. He has even created highly unusual garden furniture, like the chairs above right.
These metal sculptures created by Alan Jack seem to have great commercial potential, as yet untapped.
Alan passed away shortly after these images were taken. I've left his page on the Internet in tribute to this excellent sculptor and artist.
Text and photographs by Andy Lloyd