James Munro




1980s : Ultimate vision

Bronze now became a viable option as his eldest son Kenneth and colleague Maurice Maguire set up a Fine Art Bronze Foundry. The bronze composition ‘Pick up Trio’ is an iconic work of the period. A large version, three metres in height, was displayed at several outdoor exhibitions including the Scottish Sculpture Open at Kildrummy Castle in Aberdeenshire.

Other significant work of this period is 20th century Idol, a two metre high form with carved wood, bronze head and cloud-form. This ‘cloud’ can be followed through a range of his work and may be attributed to the uncertainty of future, the nebulas process of evolving creativity. 20th century head followed with a powerful, simplified head with Mohican hair form, swathed in rusted chains and mounted on a rugged vertical plinth of timber.

20th century man, a three metre high strident figure in reinforced concrete may have been autobiographical statement. Similarly, his largest work, Rhythm Section meticulously was modelled in plaster then exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy.

Only photos of these pieces survive and handsome bronze maquettes.

Arguably his most timeless and enduring sculpture is Quartet,(ref: press clipping with Sir Robin Philipson and her majesty the Queen viewing the sculpture at the opening of the R.S.A. exhibition) made in stainless steel and completed in 1980. Its central pillar surmounted by a polished sphere is reminiscent of a vandagraph generator capturing some creative electricity from the stratosphere.

Although he created a ‘sculptural signature’ with the ‘stainless steel work’ Jim never tired of experimenting and never entirely rejected the traditions of creating drawn or modelled portraits. And although being short listed for major international commissions it’s regratable that none of his highly appropriate and durable stainless and bronze works were never realised as public artworks. Had he lived into the 1990’s this surely would have been achieved. His fate and career had a double edge.

The Sky is Clearing:

His lecturing at Moray House concluded early with a significant ‘retiral package’ which actually gave him ten years to explore his own creative passions in music and art. However the cancer that ultimately took his life appeared first in the mid 1980’s and was suppressed with radiation treatment; enabling him to continue with creativity in many forms. However the condition returned and despite his courage and invasive chemotherapy treatment he died, in January 1990, aged 64.

The creative legacy which remains has promoted the creation of this site with the intention to place more of his artworks in public spaces for future generations to enjoy. And possibly to ponder on how one man created work which celebrated the ‘point where the ear and the eye meet’.


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