Meet the curators behind the Cockington Court Sculpture Trail

Meet the curators behind the Cockington Court Sculpture Trail

Watch an interview with the organisers of the 2019 Sculpture Trail at Cockington Court, Torquay. Now in its third year, Marissa Wakefield and Phil Dixon gives us the behind-the-scenes exclusive! Displayed around this beautiful site, it’s the perfect place for an inspiring walk packed full of colour, ideas and play.

Who are Marissa Wakefield and Phil Dixon? Marissa Wakefield has been the Centre Director at Cockington Court for the last five years. She previously studied woven textiles at Loughborough College of Art and Design and is overflowing with passion for arts at Cockington and the wonders of sculpture to bring the place alive.

Phil is a sculptor based in Brixham and is mainly known for exploring the kinetic movement in art. This is often by using electric motors which are activated by the viewer either consciously through switches, or unconsciously through sensing devices. Phil regularly exhibits around the South West and in 2016 he was shortlisted for the Broomhill National Sculpture Prize.

Phil and Marissa have collaborated since 2017 to put on this free, open to everyone trail for locals and tourist to visit and enjoy. We spoke to Phil and Marissa to find out more.

“We’ve had some amazing achievements, one thing I felt that was overwhelming, is that a lot of the guys that we selected, actually made work especially once they came to Cockington.. this is still very heart warming to me.” - Marissa Wakefield

“In 2015 I got to know Marissa, and approached her about having a show here and I put my own work in a solo exhibition here to begin with. I realised through chatting to Marissa that we both had a shared vision really for an open exhibition for other artists.” - Phil Dixon

“We just sat there at the front of the house on a picnic table and just went let's go for it. We actually did our first one in 2017, then 2018 and here we are.” - Marissa Wakefield

“It's my responsibility to bring in people I knew and invite artists. We planned to be 10 artists and we ended up with 17 artists exhibiting. In the next year of 2018, we aimed for 18 artists reflecting the year and to see if we could get in more sculptures from each artist. We’re now into 2019 and we’ve got 19 artists… It has always been the wish to create a trail rather than just a controlled exhibition, we want to make use of the Court in the way the studios are spread out. We’ve placed things around the Sea Change, around the Stable Yard, the studios as well…

I've been specialising in kinetic sculpture, so its always got an element of movement to the work. I always want that interaction with the viewer. I quite like using redundant things from the past. I wanted to also carry on the theme of balls and spheres, and wanted to create really what I call an imaginary solar system. These are actually made from disc brake rotors on bicycles and this is going to be one abstract planet, each one’s fastened on top of a drill like this and then on a pole into the ground.” - Phil Dixon

“I’m really really excited to be with Helen Bacon, who’s a lady from New Zealand, and she's created an installation in the Kitchen Gallery. And that's like caravans and things like that you can walk into and interact with, and that's going to be really, really family friendly. And she’s created a sculpture in the garden which is like a sun goddess. There's going to be a litter bin, it's incredible, when people used to say art is rubbish so it's like taking it literally.” - Marissa Wakefield

“Every year we try to keep the style of work and the ideas behind it varied, but we’ve also brought in very contemporary or even conceptual work, so there's something for all visitors here.” - Phil Dixon

“There's pieces that will be conversational pieces, as well as fun family pieces, you know to break down barriers and then really, serious pieces, we’ve got great big stone carvings and you know some amazing architectural pieces as well.” - Marissa Wakefield

Visit Cockington Court Sculpture Trail for FREE over the summer until 8 September 2019. For more information about the artists and event, visit their website.

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