"Talbot Heath School in Bournemouth commissioned artist Rebecca Newnham to create Surge in celebration of their new STEAM Hub. The sculpture references the progressive wave motion of water and produces mist and was inspired by STEAM - an educational approach to learning that encompasses science, technology, engineering, art and maths. The Hub opened in September 2019."
Rebecca Newnham is a sculptor and designer. Current works interpret scientific ideas such as waves of energy and sound. The sculpture is iconic and can be static or kinetic: some float or suspend or rotate.
Newnham's sculptures often have a glass skin. Light reflecting from this faceted glass surface changes as the viewer moves through the space adding to the impact of the work. Glass is painted with enamels, fired then cut, polished and applied to wrap seamlessly around the form.
Recent projects include Surge, commissioned to celebrate the new STEAM hub at Talbot Heath School and opened in September 2019. Surge represents progressive wave motion and is red to suggest dynamic energy. Surge reflects STEAM education - which brings together science, technology, engineering, art and maths – and puts art and creativity in the heart of the curriculum. Fluid dynamics is the study of how water like to move, as a fluid and a gas, and Surge considers these patterns. Mist making units are incorporated into the base of the sculpture and have small vibrating membranes that shake liquid water into playful mist. Supporters of the project have engraved their names onto a side of each sculpture.
Currently Rebecca is working on Vortex, suspended sculpture for the atrium of Talbot Heath’s STEAM Hub. It also considers water but from a different perspective, it represents climate change - a watery whirlpool, a 5.5m tall column of blue and green hand painted glass that spirals through the space.
The Himalayan Gardens in Yorkshire has Newnham’s sculpture floating on 3 lakes. It has extensive plant collections and recently, in 2018, their commissioned floating sculpture was installed in the snow at Easter. LilyPads are 5 floating forms each anchored and allowed to float within a circumference. Each Pad is a different colour referencing a different flower to be experienced as the viewer descends into the gardens. Another floating work at the Himalayans Gardens is Wave, a 15m installation, which considers the ever-increasing volume of information which invisibly surrounds us. The five sections have an internal steel structure, have a highly polished red surface and are invisibly chained together and anchored to allow the work to respond to wind and water flow. Wave is red because in the colour spectrum, red appears at this wavelength. Magnolia was commissioned for a different lake in 2010. The gardens acquired Samara, a 3m tall sculpture in 2009
Rebecca Newnham first exhibited in Salisbury Cathedral in 2010 was invited to co curate Reflection at Salisbury Cathedral in 2016 by Jacqueline Creswell. Nine artists who work with glass responded to the context of the space. Rebecca’s sculpture was sited within the Cathedral and in the Close.
Newnham's studio explores reuse of glass bottles crushed as an aggregate in concrete or fused in a kiln. Research lead to exciting commissions reusing glass bottles to create cast artworks in 2015. In 2016 the Russell-Cotes Museum donated glass with historical relevance to Rebecca to create new work to be displayed there. Soar is a sculpture cast in editions in bronze or with glass aggregate. It follows on from a series of work about flight and the energy required to elevate. The glass aggregate casts reuse imploded and graded bottle glass, sourced locally, in place of other aggregate; the glass sparkles in the light. HSBC have one in their collection.
Rebecca Newnham was elected a Fellow of the Royal British Society of Sculptors in 2016