In 2013, Flood-Paddock was awarded the Kenneth Armitage Fellowship, which enabled her to live and work in Armitage’s studio for two years. During her residency, Flood-Paddock became interested in Armitage’s work on oak trees produced between 1975 and 1986.
Armitage was inspired by the ever-changing, ancient oak trees of Richmond Park. He said, “I suddenly saw them. It was a bright spring day with blue sky and little white clouds, and everywhere I looked it was a revelation, the trees were alive.” Throughout this period, he would visit the park as often as three times a week to sketch and eventually make the tabletop bronzes and the large sculpture, Richmond Oak, shown outside The Tetley.
In the Leeds Beckett Atrium was a monumental new sculpture by Jessie Flood-Paddock. Titled Lion Vasa, the work was inspired by the figurehead of a seventeenth-century ship that sank minutes into its maiden voyage, here scaled up and made in fragile materials. Lion Vasa was also the starting point for a series of new stories by Tom Morton.
Throughout the exhibition Flood-Paddock and Armitage’s works alternated in each space, bringing the private dialogue between these two artists into the gallery for the first time.
Refinding formed part of the Armitage Centenary programme in his home city, which also includes the exhibition Kenneth Armitage: Sculpture and Drawing of the 1950s at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery. Refinding was supported by The Kenneth Armitage Foundation and Carl Freedman Gallery. Flood-Paddock’s new commission was supported by the Henry Moore Foundation, The Elephant Trust and Artists’ General Benevolent Institution. With thanks to Brian Fell and Civic Engineers.