There's a combative article in the Spectator last week by Gerald Laing, a sculptor. He is against abstract sculptures. "While there are, and continue to be, sublime examples of abstraction, I am of the opinion that most abstract art is tantamout to taking tranquillisers or escaping to an ivory tower". Go on, sock it to 'em Gerry. "In addition" he writes, "it is a simple and obvious truth that the quality of figurative sculpture is easier to judge than that of abstract, in both form and content. Many artists, mostly of the abstract persuasion, indulge in a coy symbolism as if they are fearful of committing themselves to an idea or a position."
Most sculptures in parks I don't notice; I know they are there but I rarely go close up to them and look at them, find out who the person represented is. "Some soldier sitting there on his horse," I think, if I think about it all, "probably I wouldn't know who he was if I read his name."
There are four sculptures of well known men in Cardiff that I do look at with interest: one of David Lloyd George in a park in front of the Museum; one of Aneurin Bevan in Queen Street; an action sculpture of Gareth Edwards also in Queen Street - "caught" in the act of passing a rugby ball; and one of Ivor Novello near The Millenium Centre in Cardiff Bay. All of interest to me not because I regard them particularly works of art but because I have read or seen or heard what they were famous for. I saw Gareth Edwards many times. I read about - and saw a silent film on - David Lloyd George. I saw Aneurin Bevan in a Miner's Rally in Cardiff some years back; great orator with a rather squeaky voice and a stammer which seemed paradoxically to help - "Just before I came here I stopped off to have a hair cut; the man who got out of the chair I was about to sit in said to the barber "Do me a favour and cut his throat please." Everyone laughed. That was one of his tricks - make you laugh then bash in with the heavy stuff. Ivor Novello' music I like thouigh I don't think his operettas would go down these days, a bit sickly sentimental. I once wrote a short booklet on Novello which I published myself: of the booklets I published - some ten or so - this was my best seller.