A new public artwork, titled Baroque Sprawl, has been installed at No.1 Station Approach in Hereford, marking the culmination of a collaborative three-year public art programme led by Meadow Arts and Hereford College of Arts,  supported by Stronger Hereford.

Drawing inspiration from the dynamic and flowing style of the Baroque period, artist Laura White’s creation pays homage to Bernini’s famous sculpture, Apollo and Daphne (1622 -1625), which is represented on the large billboard on the Aylestone Hill end of the building. Bernini’s sculpture depicts Daphne, a beautiful and fiercely independent nymph, evading Apollo’s amorous pursuit by changing into a tree. Bernini’s powerful sculpture captures the moment when Daphne begins this transformation.

On the opposite end of the building, White’s installation echoes Bernini’s masterpiece too, but injects an element of unpredictability while remaining rooted in plain materials. The fabric that weaves through the undulating metal frame is white scaffolding sheeting, a product used on construction sites the world over. Using this humble material, the artist grounds the monumental sculpture in the everyday and connects it to the fabric of the city.

Positioned in this location, on one of the main arteries leading in and out of the city, the work establishes a vibrant conversation between the city and the magnificent Herefordshire landscape surrounding it. Anne de Charmant, Artistic Director at Meadow Arts said: “With this artwork, Laura White continues her adventurous explorations into the use of materials and their powers of transformation. In the same way, this piece of public art will temporarily transform our perception of the building at No1 Station Approach.”

Dr Daniel Pryde-Jarman, Head of School of Fine Art at Hereford College of Arts said:
‘‘Baroque Sprawl is such a fitting culmination of this 3-year partnership project between HCA and Meadow Arts. We are so happy to have been able to host Laura on campus at HCA whilst she put this large-scale sculpture together, and art students from a number of courses have been able to see the work evolve over time and interact with the artist to gain new insights. The result is an exciting and ambitious statement for the importance of sculpture in the city, prompting us to reflect upon the nature of our relationship with materials, mythology, and the landscape around us.’’

A free public launch event will take place at 5pm on 16th May 2024 at Hereford College of Arts, College Road Campus. The event will provide the opportunity to meet artist Laura White and learn more about the inspiration behind the work and the fabrication of this monumental installation. Booking essential, find out more on Meadow Arts’ website.

The temporary work is the third bold public art commission for No.1 Station Approach. The project is one of fifteen launched in the city thanks to the support of Stronger Hereford, which aims to make the city greener, fairer, creative, digital and more connected. With support from HM Government’s Towns Fund to help Hereford blossom into a richly creative, digital, connected and highly-skilled place to live, work, study, visit and invest.