George Wagstaffe is a Coventry based artist, known predominantly for his sculptures in Coventry centre and other major cities.
Born just before the outbreak of World War II, George grew up witnessing first-hand the destruction and devastation of the 1940 Blitz in both Coventry and Birmingham. These images have stayed with him and been a major influence on his work throughout his life. George’s work mainly centres around the theme of death, rebirth and resurrection, monumental forms splitting apart and decaying, yet smaller, more delicate forms are created through this destruction. The 1962 sculpture in Coventry city centre, Phoenix, epitomises this theme in a memorial to Post-War Coventry and its rebuilding.
Another recurring theme within George’s work is that of the enigmatic woman, horse and moon. This triad is seen in works from the early 1960s, through to his most recent work. The mysterious girl or woman, becomes the archetype for the feminine and gentle, the Mother Earth figure, Gaia. The relationship the feminine and the lunar has with the horse develops over time, at times they are closely entwined, at others they become independent and distant, yet the protective concern the female has for her surroundings and nature is unwavering.
This theme of the brutality and fragility of life and nature, and the battles that life creates is can be seen throughout all of George’s sculptures, paintings and drawings.