Neil Lawson Baker’s first career was as a highly successful London Dental Surgeon, having also qualified as a Doctor. He took up sculpture following his convalescence from Hepatitis B in 1987 to while away the hours. His surgeon’s hand-eye skills paved the way, assisted by Kees Verkade, the Dutch sculptor who taught him to model in wax. He was introduced to the master foundry man Eric Gibbard at the Burleighfield Foundry who had done work for the Tate Gallery, Elizabeth Frink, Lyn Chadwick and Barbara Hepworth. He also worked with Charles Pinellis at the famous Susse-Fondeur foundry in Arcueil. The bronzes he made were bought by his contacts and collectors across the world.
On his return to practice, the commissions flooded in: including works for the entrance to the Houses of Parliament, British Gas Headquarters, the Sterling House office building in London, National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, and the entrance to the Channel Tunnel.
Neil has been fully retired from dentistry for ten years spending his time, writing, sculpting, painting and as the tireless Chairman for the Chichester Art Trust and National Open Art Competition and its Exhibitions which he has headed up for over 10 years taking it to National Level.
The works chosen for the exhibition cover over 30 years and reflect the personal side of his work away from the public commissions undertaken in the 1980s and 1990s. They include the monumental Mother Superior enlarged for this exhibition for the first time and influenced by Frink’s sculpture, Walking Madonna outside Salisbury Cathedral. Alongside this the tender Three Sisters, reflects Neil’s interest in both Chekov and Henry Moore.
Seen as a group the pieces reveal him as an artist with a deep sensitivity to the human condition and an ability to understand the underlying principles of form taking them to a level of abstraction seen in the best tradition of Modern British Art.
‘My work is born from a lifetime of Looking. Each of my sculptures tells a story which I hope you will share’