St. Luke’s Park, Runwell

Commission: St. Luke’s Park, Runwell

The site based around the chapel of St. Lukes has an interesting history. The site was previously used as mental health hospital where innovative treatments were developed by Dr. John Corsellis . The treatments are no longer practised but made a significant contribution to the body of knowledge and subsequent improvements in mental health practices.

Permanent Artworks

John Merrill has created a series of three monumental works as a direct response to the walks around St. Luke’s Park, a response to the wild tangle of overgrown hospital grounds.

The series of three sculptures are intended to change over time, to be intriguing. They will evolve as the environment acts upon the surfaces and the form of each piece references a visual idea about boundaries, growth and change. The aim is for the sculptures to become objects to sit on and clamber through as you would a forest, enjoying and remembering. Over many decades they will gather moss and begin to decay, blending into the natural landscape and disappearing.

Merrill describes his work as an attempt to take a natural material and to remodel it, organize it, to give it structure. The first piece is ordered, controlled and serene from the outside, like the contained face that is presented. The second piece takes the form of a geometric seed; it is posing a question of the artist and through him of us too – is the structure restraining and trapping a wild entity or is the wild entity growing from within, ready to escape?

Sculpture three known as ‘Thicket’ is the woodland that the landscape would revert to without human intervention. A dense area of almost impassable trees with a clearing within. A feat of engineering to create a perfectly balanced form.

Commission: Metamorphosis; marking the changes, or re-interpreting St. Luke’s Park

Artist: John Merrill

Material: Oak

Location: St. Luke’s Park, Runwell, Chelmsford

Client: Countryside Properties (UK) Ltd.

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