Article by: Jennifer Handley - First Published: 12 October 2011
Location: Brewery Wharf, Leeds.
A second barley sculpture (in addition to 'Steeped Vessels') at Brewery Wharf, Leeds.
'Sheaf Tree' bears a more simplistic form having a raw yet elegant appearance. The artist Chris Knight was inspired by the industrial past of the area surrounding the River Aire. The "leaves" that peel away from the structure represent the barley used in the brewing industry.
"The cutting and bending used to create those leaves is inspired by pattern-making in the leather industry, while the industrial appearance of the sculpture chimes in with the area's engineering past".
It is made from Cor-Ten steel, an alloy which when exposed to the weather forms a rust-like appearance, similar in style to sculptor Richard Serra's large scale sheet metal constructions. Knight's work has been exhibited extensively and features in the collections of Birmingham City Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum, Sheffield Museums & Galleries, Aberdeen City Art Gallery and Norwich Castle Museum to name but a few. You may also have seen his large spikey Cor-Ten sculpture, 'Desire', on Blackpool promenade.
This rustic but modern sculpture belongs to the recent 100 million pound masterplan scheme for Brewery Wharf which won both the Civic Trust National Award for Public Art and the Leeds Architecture Award for Public Art. Weighing four tonnes, the 'tree' stands in a public square near to the Waterfall Spa.
In 2004 the Yorkshire Evening Post ran a competition open to the public to find a name for the sculpture, which had at that point only a working name assigned by the artist - The Cor-Ten Tree. It was subsequently re-named 'Sheaf Tree'.
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