Susanna Heron (born 1949) continues her interest in large scale stone relief with a commission for St John’s College, Oxford, with Wright & Wright Architects. ‘Stone Drawing’ is a shallow carving in negative relief, cut from Clipsham stone, occupying both the external and internal faces of the wall to a new study centre at St John’s College Library adjacent to the Canterbury Quadrangle. At 6 metres high and 20.4 metres long it forms the west side of the new building.
‘The drawing becomes a plan for the relief which in turn introduces light and shade, scale, vantage point and material. A negative relief, like an engraving, is carved from a flat surface. Each line becomes an edge, or more accurately two or even three edges, whether it becomes a step or a groove. In this way it relates to maps and plans, terrain viewed from above where visibility is often reliant on direction of light and vantage point. It is subject to reversal and plays tricks with your eyes – something that projects might appear to recede when the light changes.’
Landscape is at the heart of Heron’s work, in 1987 she became involved in the regeneration of a garden in Cornwall and exhibited a series of related works in 1992 including a book ‘Shima: Island and Garden’. More recently she has embarked on a series of commissioned works. Selected commissions include Chancery Lane, London, 2015; Sainsbury Laboratory for the study of Plant Science, Cambridge, 2011 (winner of RIBA Stirling Prize 2012); Brunswick Centre, London, 2006 and Council of the European Union, Brussels, 1995.