Art's role in bridging public and domestic domains is epitomised by The Family, Gordon Young's monumental stone carvings outside Gateshead Civic Centre.
Located near the Office of Births, Marriages and Deaths, these three sets of linked figures represent life's three main stages:
- old age.
and the changing relationships which sustain them.
The impressive scale acknowledges the importance of personal relationships while the durability of the Cumbrian limestone represents faith in enduring affection - the real subject of the work.
As a title, The Family refers less to that unit and more to a 'family' of interconnected sculptures celebrating relationships common to the whole human 'family'. Generalised forms concentrate on rendering strong presences rather than reproducing superficial appearances, and draw on sources including African and Celtic art, Jacob Epstein and Henry Moore.
Installed in 1991, the sculptures involved a laborious process of chipping, drilling and polishing and took three years to complete.
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