Gallery exhibition, inspired by cacti, coincides with Chelsea Flower Show

A forthcoming exhibition from award-winning sculptor Ben Russell at Mayfair sculpture specialist, Hignell Gallery, will see Russell’s hand-carved sculptures, set against an immersive display of greenery designed by Conservatory Archives, who specialise in indoor plant design.

The exhibition of contemporary sculpture, inspired by the bold forms of cacti is entitled, ‘The Cactus House‘ and will coincide with the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The exhibition runs from 11th May to 3rd July, 2017, and marks the first major showcase of Ben Russell’s works at the Hignell Gallery.

While working at his leafy Dorset studio, heritage conservator and sculptor Ben, (pictured above) found inspiration in the unique way that light passes through the flesh of a cactus. Having long been influenced by nature and organic forms, Ben works with the translucent properties of alabaster to recreate the effect in sculptural form. He has expanded his collection to reflect the variety within the cactus family. New materials such as Portland limestone and Onyx stone allow him to produce a range of shapes and textures. His method is a painstaking process of sanding and polishing, resulting in a luminous sheen to the surface of the stone.

Abbey Hignell, director of Hignell Gallery is delighted to be part of London’s annual celebration, The Chelsea Flower Show, with this special exhibition: “I have always had a passion for the Temperate and Cacti houses at Kew Gardens,” she says. “They are an infinite inspiration of sculptural forms displayed in beautiful naturally lit interior. They have great affinity with the sculpture gallery space. You can walk into a different world which becomes an immersive multi sensory experience,” she adds.

Ben is excited to be exhibiting at the Hignell Gallery and explains that the exhibition will be a showcase of over three months of caring to explore the unique and unusual form cacti: “I am approaching each block of stone with only a vague notion of what I wish to capture and feel that this has allowed each piece to emerge in an organic and natural way,” he said.

Ben won the prestigious Duke of Gloucester award for carving and stone masonry in 2012 and has worked in heritage conservation across London, on numerous historic buildings and facades such as The Tower of London and Houses of Parliament. However, he recently shifted his artisan practice toward contemporary sculpture, applying traditional techniques to a range of new materials.

The exhibition will bring ‘the outside in’ and with the growing interest surrounding horticultural designs and crafted objects, will definitely be of interest to Chelsea Flower Show visitors.

The Hignell Gallery is at 12-14 Shepherd Street, London, W1J 7JF and is open Monday to Friday 10am to 6pm.