Betty Woodman: Liverpool Fountain

Betty Woodman, Liverpool Fountain, 2016. Photo: Joel Chester Fildes

Betty Woodman, Liverpool Fountain, 2016. Photo: Joel Chester Fildes

Betty Woodman, Liverpool Fountain, 2016. Photo: Joel Chester Fildes

Liverpool Fountain (2016) by Betty Woodman is a permanent public artwork for the city, commissioned by Liverpool Biennial. Woodman's work refers to classical imagery and architectural decoration, combining sources that include Greek and Etruscan sculpture, Minoan and Egyptian art, Italian Baroque architecture and the paintings of Bonnard, Picasso and Matisse.

Woodman’s bronze fountain is next to George’s Dock Ventilation Tower, an Art Deco structure built in 1931 that ventilates the road tunnel below. Like many in the Art Deco movement, the building’s architect Herbert J Rowse was influenced by recent discoveries in Egypt, such as the tomb of Tutankhamun, first entered by Western archaeologists in 1922.

Betty Woodman (b. 1930, Norwalk, Connecticut, USA d. 2018) is known for her exuberantly painted ceramic vessels, which hover between sculpture and painting. Whilst her work references ceramics from many cultures and historical periods, she was not bound by tradition, but rather used it to explore relationships between structure, surface, and colour. Woodman’s work is part of more than 50 public collections and has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at museums and galleries internationally.

Liverpool Fountain is commissioned by Liverpool Biennial. Supported by Merseytravel, Weightmans, Salon 94, New York, David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles and Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin.