Nicolas Moreton in the Gallery at Messum’s Gallery

British artist Nicolas Moreton is, quite arguably, the creator of some of the most stunning sculptures of the modern age and currently the Messum’s Gallery in London is showcasing a collection of his latest works entitled, ‘Eclipses’.

The exhibition heavily features circular shapes, accompanied by a few mystical structures. As the title of  the exhibition suggests, the majority of the sculptures exhibit the beautiful and alluring nature of an Eclipse.

Eclipses are astronomical events that are associated with great mysticism.  They occur when an astronomical object is temporarily obscured, either by a passing shadow of another body or by having another body pass between it and the viewer. The works featured in this exhibition appear to resemble that of solar eclipses, which occur when the moon passes between the sun and the earth, and either partially or fully blocks the sun. The term eclipse originates from the Ancient Greek word, ‘ékleipsis’, which means “the darkening of a heavenly body’. The sun and moon are, indeed, both heavenly bodies, each emitting magical qualities and mystical legends of their own. Some of the magical elements from these two heavenly bodies certainly shine through Moreton’s work in this exhibition.

Although all of Moreton’s sculptures are quite obviously stationary, they still convey the sense that they are secretly working together, conspiring to becoming one and spreading their auras across the gallery, enticing viewers and captivating them in a completely unique and magical way. There is something incredibly sedating and peaceful about the moon and circular objects, and Moreton has perfectly managed to capture this universal essence in this exhibition, with each sculpture connecting throughout the gallery creating a calming and comforting sensory veil around visitors.

Other sculptures featured do not exhibit the same circular pattern or eclipses, but are still just as mystifying in their own enchanting way. ‘Rising Matter’ is a watery teardrop of Italian marble that stretches upwards, almost as though it either dropped from the moon, or is trying to reach up to it. The flowing teardrop shape relates to water, another element conjuring to create the healing emotional atmosphere and of course this is also an element that relates to the moon, as the moon controls the ocean and the tides.

Moreton deeply respects and admires woman, which became especially apparent in his works shortly after the birth of his son in 2001, when his gaze shifted toward the female form. He apparently continued to appreciate and pay tribute to women with the use of the most beautiful ’female’ form of them all - the moon.

Moreton’s previous sculptures have often included notions of the female form, displayed in his own unique way. This is perhaps what inspired him to create his series of eclipses involving the moon in his latest series, as the moon is often considered to be a female being of sorts. The moon is a celestial being that holds her own force and influence over the earth and especially the sea. She is often considered luminary, but she creates no light of her own, and relies on the sun’s light to bestow her image into our earthly eyes. This method of projecting light makes the moon a symbol of clarity and reflection. The sun will blaze its light upon any given subject, whereas the moon will softly call our attention, illuminating our psyche in her understated glow. The moon teaches us that we cannot hide the beauty of life if we know how to reflect it.

The sun and moon are a pair and work in tandem day and night. Through nature, we find a series of energetic counterparts: light and darkness; male and female; rising and falling; and the moon takes her place as the balancing counterpart to the sun.

The sun is symbolic of the fraternal (yang) aspect of guidance; and so logically his partner, the moon, stands as the maternal (yin) influence. An eclipse is one of the most beautiful natural phenomena's the human eye can witness, and Moreton’s stunning series of works gives viewers the chance to view it whenever they want and for as long as they want - without damaging their eyes when the blazing sun finally re-reveals himself in all his glory again. 

Moreton’s exhibition is ultimately an incredibly beautiful, physical representation of one of the greatest love stories of all time - the story of the sun and the moon.

The sun was loved by all, he brought joy and hope and was the source of warmth. Then there was the moon, who would rise into the sky, flanked by millions of stars. However, her radiance was a sad kind of beauty, one that went unnoticed as people slept. One day while sliding out of the heavens, the sun caught a glimpse of the moon and he fell in love. He knew that while he could shine, the moon could glow, and that a faithful whisper could trump an arrogant shout any day. Yet the sun and the moon could never be together. During the summer he would stay just a little longer, but it was no use. The moon ordered the sun not to abandon his blessing of light for her darkness, and so the sun died every night just to let the moon breathe. Hoewever, every once in a while, their paths crossed, and even if just for a moment they were together and Moreton’s exhibition celebrates this phenomenon beautifully.

Nicolas Moreton in the Gallery is on at Messum’s Gallery until 2nd February.  More information may be found here.