Display Name

Charles Poulsen

Date/Place of Birth

1952, Pembury, Kent, England

Preferred Media / Type of Work

Sculpture and Drawing

Artist's statement

I am a sculptor living and working in the Scottish Borders with my wife Pauline Burbidge (textile artist). Lead is my primary material though concrete is sometimes used alongside the lead.

I have been experimenting for the last couple of years with casting in lead by pressing objects into a bed of sand. Usually the same object is used over and over again to create flow and movement within a frame; the frame helps to order this movement. These reliefs are like drawings and this idea is helped by the use of negative space within casts forming a layered lattice of flowing lines (see images Twig & Branch and Silent Flow).

Wrapping objects in lead has been an ongoing interest of mine over many years. I am very interested in how wrapping objects in lead alters their whole sense. In the case of Resurgam a large stone off the beach is wrapped in lead. The object rather than being weighed down by the lead looses its feeling of weight. I have used tools, the shovel being a favourite (used in several pieces such as Crossed Shovels and Five Shovels) which I like because of its relationship to the body. I wrap the shovel and then I remove it and I can then repeat the wrapping creating a series of 'ghosts' of the shovel. These ghosts I then further manipulate by folding and flattening.

Since 2004, I have started to weld the lead together. Before this, I only used lead as single sheets. The use of welding has given me a new direction with my use of lead as it enables me to wrap objects that are truly three-dimensional. I have begun a series of works using sections of tree as a starting pont. My aim with these sculptures is to bring the natural and the man made closer together to a point where it is not clear whether what you are looking at is a man made object or a natural one. The section of tree is carefully selected and where the cuts are made is an essential part of the work.

I use concrete alongside the lead. I use concrete in a very fluid way. Again I wrap, but this time the wrapping (plastic sheet) is a means to an end. The concrete is put in the plastic wet and then sealed and rolled or folded. When the concrete is set the plastic is stripped away. (See Resurgam and Straddle.)

Charles Poulsen 2006


Solo Exhibitions:
1992 Elements of Drawing, Mezzanine Gallery, Newark
1993 Joining Forces, Angel Row Gallery, Nottingham and Honiton Arts Festival, Honiton
1994 Joining Forces 2, Morley College Gallery, London
1998 Pb, Grizedale Forest Gallery, Cumbria
2002 Hush, Harastanes Gallery, Scottish Borders
2003 (Oct 18 - December 5) Prima Materia, Tweeddale Museum, Peebles, Scotland.
2004 (Oct 22 - December 23) Charles Poulsen Sculpture, Ettrick Riverside, Dunsdale Road, Selkirk, Scottish Borders.

Mixed Exhibitions:
1985 Nottingham Local Artists, Castle Museum, Nottingham
1986 Sheffield Open, Mappin Gallery, Sheffield
1988 Inside Outside, Castle Museum, Nottingham
1989 Leicester Open, City Gallery, Leicester
1991 Head to Toe, Ruskin Gallery, Sheffield
1992 Mixed Feelings 2, Dean Clough, Halifax
1992 Nottingham Artists, Poznan, Poland
1993 Common Senses, Tullie House, Carlisle
1994 Take a Seat, Castle Museum, Nottingham
1995 Scottish Sculpture Open, Kildrummy Castle and Stirling University
1995 S. A. A. C. Exhibition, Edinburgh
1996 100% Dumfries/Stranraer
1999 R. G. I. Exhibition, Glasgow
1999 Behind the Locked Gates, Traquair House, Peebles
1999 Visual Arts Scotland, Edinburgh
2002 Matterart, (with Pauline Burbidge) 8 April - 13 May, Shire Pottery Gallery and Studios, Millers' Yard, Prudhoe Street, Alnick, Northumberland, UK

Annual Open Studio Exhibition:
1993 - 2006 These are held in the first weekend of August jointly with the textile artist, Pauline Burbidge and a guest artist. Everyone welcome.
Latest Exhibition:
2006 Open Studio Exhibition (with Pauline Burbidge and Guest artist) Aug 4 - Aug 7 (11am - 6pm) Allanbank Mill Steading, Berwickshire, Scotland.

Art Education

1970 - 1973 Politics/History BSc
1979 - 1983 Loughborough College of Art BSc
1984 - 1986 Trent Polytechnic MA

Residencies and Commissions:
1997 Grizedale Forest, Cumbria. Funded by Grizedale and northern Arts.
1998 Katzow Sculpture Park, Germany.
1998 Killhope Lead Mining Centre, County Durham. Funded by Durham County Council and Northern Arts.
2001- 2004 Private commissions
2003 Nicholas Street, Chester. Lead sculpture commission on building by Ian Simpson Architects.
2005 Point of Resolution, Scottish Borders, Map Reference NT 354 337. Growing Sculpture funded by The Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway Councils. It was made on Forestry Commission of Scotland land with their cooperation and assistance.

Awards and Publications

1993 Grant, East Midlands Arts
1995 Grant, Scottish Arts Council
1998 Grant, Scottish Arts Council
2005 The Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway Councils

Common Senses, Catalogue of Exhibition, 1993
Vincentelli, Moira, Joining Forces, Exhibition Fanfold, Angel Row Gallery, Nottingham, 1993
Pb, Catalogue of Exhibition, 1998

Work Held in Collections

Work Held in Collections:
1998 Grizedale Forest, 4 sculptures: Picea, Blind Wall, Sitka Horizontalis and Gert Styan
1998 Killhope Lead Mining Centre, 2 sculptures: Leadwork and Hush
1998 Katzow Sculpture Park, Germany, 1 sculpture: Blei Rap

Slide Libraries:
Grizedale Forest, Cumbria
Katzow Sculpture Park, Germany

Member for

6 years 10 months