Art – Terence Coventry sculpts the essence of animal nature


When last at the Guardian and Observer offices at Kings Place, just up the road from Kings Cross station, I took time to check out Terence Coventry’s animal sculptures that had been in the small Pangolin Gallery since early January.

A mixture of charcoal drawings and sculpture in sterling silver, bronze and steel, the pieces take form from fluid curves or straight lines and hard angles, animals and people in the style of primitive cave drawings. They are beautiful, simple studies of shape and form that stands in stark contrast to the white, airy exhibition space. Coventry has a way of capturing the nature of the animal with such minimal representation, though I’m sure it’s not that simple to create.

A few pieces struck close to my heart: the studies of birds and dogs.

The bird in sterling silver (see gallery with apologies for my iPhone 3GS quality pics, above) has its form reduced to a series of planes and angles, not unlike the chrome Lightning jet installed in Tate Britain by artist Fiona Banner. The bird’s poised position gives the impression of it being coiled for take-off.

The dogs. I love the dogs. My parents have a chocolate Labrador at home and I have moments walking through the city when I imagine the old boy ambling along beside me. The hounds cast in bronze range from the majestic dog in Crufts pose (see gallery, above) to the more leisurely hound casting a glance behind him (in my mind it’s a him, perhaps for you it will be a her).

I believe the exhibition has been changed now, but you can see better quality images of Coventry’s work at


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