Inspirations and challenges

Robert Hunt has had a fascination with visual rather than written forms of expression for as long as he can remember. An initial interest in drawing and painting has developed into a total preoccupation with three dimensional, figurative sculpture.

The majority of his work is portraiture. When he joined sculpture classes for the first time in the 1980s he was immediately drawn to the human face and figure. Although he has occasionally experimented with the abstract (which brings with it a whole new freedom of imaginative expression) he has always returned to the figurative as the discipline that most inspires him and provides the highest degree of satisfaction.

He admits that trying to reproduce the warmth and flexibility of a living form, expressed in the rigidity of bronze, stone or plaster, is undoubtedly a challenge. It is more than simply trying to reproduce the surface image that meets the eye. He is always trying to understand and reveal that ‘something more’ in every portrait sculpture that he undertakes. In the finished piece must be, somehow, all the structure of bone and movement of muscle that makes up the human form; not just one momentary expression captured, but an illusion of much of the expressions that face is capable of; and more still – even the movement of an eyebrow, the sound of the voice, the shrug of a shoulder. The sculptor, as a unique individual, meets the sitter as another such, and in that meeting hopes to see and express in a three-dimensional block of seemingly dead matter, the mystery of recognition, unique to this encounter.

So for him the ability to produce a likeness starts with a need to look in great detail at his sitter: and not just at the surface. He is reminded of the French sculptor Antoine Bourdelle who said to his students “do not work on the surface, habituate yourselves to reproduce the interior. Sculpture is the art of the interior.”