LONDON - What with painters railing at the fixation on
unmade beds, derelict beach huts and bisected animals on the one hand, and the
reported views of deputy Prime Minister John Prescott on the works of Henry
Moore on the other, the sense or nonsense of the modern art world is in greater
turmoil than ever. Now even the raison d'etre of the Royal Society of British
Sculptors is under fire.
The central figure in this hiatus is Ronald Cameron, a sculptor for more than
50 years, who initially gained his National Design Diploma under the renowned
Dr Vogel at the Camberwell Art College.
Now a mature 70, he was for years a highly successful commercial sculptor,
before achieving his ambition of being able to confine his time and efforts to
fine art. He concentrates on sculpting the human form in the classic
Greco-Roman style, yet in a way that is unquestionably modern.
The result: his work over the past twenty years has been exhibited and sold in
galleries alongside works of Moore, Hepworth, Frink and Ayrton, and as many as
thirty of his life size bronze featuring three women - a European, an Asian,
and an African - dancing in harmony. This work has been exhibited at the
Whitford Fine Art Gallery in Duke Street and the Cafmeyer Gallery in Belgium.
The result was that two of the editions of four sold very quickly.
Besides his major sculptures and maquettes, small pieces of Cameron's work have
significantly been used by other artists such as Gilbert and George and, most
recently, by the Chapman brothers in their highly-acclaimed Diaorama of the
In short, there is today a ready acceptance of the high artistic quality of
Cameron's work and he has been quoted as being pre-eminent in his field. Yet
astonishingly, he has been refused membership of the RSBS on two occasions.
Why? No reason is given although by way of explanation the Society's President,
Derek Morris, has said: "The RSBS is dragging itself into the 21st century and
this may have some bearing on the council's decision."
His point is illustrated by the works shown in the Society's literature that
states: "the Society exists to promote and advance the art of sculpture; to
ensure that continued widespread debate on contemporary sculpture and to
promote excellence in this art form."
"Certainly, the Society is successful in promoting debate, but I am not sure
what else," says Ronald Cameron. "I do not presume to judge the work it
espouses. I do, however, most strongly advocate a proper recognition of
genuine, not to say classical, sculpture that will survive long after some of
the contemporary works are confined to the rubbish bin.
"Indeed, I submit that the distinguished patrons of this charity should
appraise its validity in achieving its primary aim of advancing the art of