My name is Nigel Ten Fleming. The «Ten» came from my marriage to my wife, Tessa Ten Tusscher. It made up for my inexplicable lack of a middle name.
When I told my sister my new name, she paused for a long while, and then said “one is enough!” She was probably right.
But in my case, I do need ten more lives. I have a list of sculptural projects that would challenge the fabled longevity of a cat.
So in my remaining years, I must work, work, work. And that work, with all its dust and mess, I absolutely love. As I grow even older, I think that this habit of a lifetime will endure past when I loose my marbles. That at least, is my hope!
I became a sculptor quite out of the blue without ever having wished to become one.
After seeing a bronze sculpture in a castle basement outside Prague in the bitter winter a few years ago, of a life-sized human figure with a horse”s head stooping over a bowl of their own entrails, I was knocked sideways.
The next day, I told my wife that I had decided to become a sculptor and do a right angle turn in my career.
And so I taught myself all I needed to know using YouTube videos.
My theme is NATURE WRIT LARGE. Little things we cannot see taken out of scale and context to be seen afresh. It is that simple.
Before I started, I surveyed the history of sculpture, and felt there was little more to add to our insatiable self-adoration of the human form, and, being a biological scientist, it was natural that I wanted to fill that largely empty niche.
I also figured out that 2,000 years of religious sponsorship of art was evidence enough that a sponsor corrupts the work irretrievably. So, for this reason, I have avoided the commercial route in my work.
My sculptural work is primarily designed to develop the ideas that I am writing and reading about. It is an internal dialogue with myself as the primary audience. I am trying to please nobody but myself. In this way, I hope to remain authentic to the inspiration.
As my work progressed, it became increasingly conceptual. I was interested in capturing ideas in a single visual image, fully convinced that an image can convey a thousand words.
In forming the physical image, I continue to refine my thinking about the core concept. This simple process drives my work.
For me, aesthetically pretty images alone do nothing. For me, the image must contain meaning. Just as science is an enquiry into reality, so then is art, using methods of qualia or personal experience, combined with the wisdom of thousands of talented academic writers.
It is this synthesis of personal reinterpretation and scientific literature boiled into a single image that really excites me.
In this way, the physical image, my private writings on the subject, my scientific readings, and my dream work drawing on the unconscious mind, all coalesce together. I find this deeply pleasing, and an absolute compulsion.
While my passion is geologically ancient and beautiful stone, due to weight considerations, some larger pieces are multimedia.
But I will increasingly be working on larger scale stone projects in a modular fashion so that the sheer logistics of handling heavy stones becomes manageable for me in my workshop.
This work has also given me an intense love and respect for the nameless Gothic stonemasons who exercised such enormous skill and knowledge. I never fail to feel the numinous in Gothic stone, in their chisel marks, and grand designs.
This is a virtual exhibit of my sculptural work, and each sculpture links to a brief essay on the subject. I am working at a rate of about three or four sculptures a year and will continually update this Instagram exhibit.
If you are interested in some of my natural science interests, I post daily on LinkedIn and Twitter in a journal club format.
Thank you, and enjoy. I will endeavor to answer all emails sent to this site, so feel free and let rip.