Tom Waugh

I make sculptures from stone and marble that depict discarded, mass-produced objects. Using the processes and techniques of classical marble carving, and paying close attention to form and surface detail, I achieve a high level of realism in my work. Plastic bags, cardboard boxes, and tin cans are squashed, crushed, and wrinkled, documenting the casual imprints of human use. Some of the sculptures are life-size, others are larger than life, and some appear, like fossils, emerging from the pristine rock. Materials are carefully chosen to achieve realism: white marble takes on the appearance of plastic or polystyrene, ironstone becomes rusty metal and Portland Stone is transformed into crumpled cardboard. As a sculptor, there is something extremely satisfying about transforming solid, immutable marble and limestone into the soft malleable forms of discarded objects. Despite my use of traditional materials and techniques, there are tensions and contradictions in my work: between classical and contemporary art; between temporality and permanence; and between humour and serious environmental and social issues. These contradictions can present a cognitive dissonance, challenging ideas of material value, and prompting a second look at the things we take for granted. Running through my work is a desire to express mankind’s paradoxical relationship with the natural world. We are both destructive and dependent on nature, being at its mercy at the same time as seeking to control and manipulate it. My work is infused with the uncertainty and irony of humanity’s pursuit of progress, in the end, what is the purpose of this progress? Why are we doing this? 

Gallery images (from left) 

  • Crushed box 2015, Portland stone 12x19x22 
  • Fossil fuel 2017, Iron Stone 23x23x30 
  • Big Takeaway 2018, Portland Stone and Iron Stone 55x35x30 
  • Bag for Life ii 2019, Reclaimed Carrara Marble 38x23x10 
  • Big Pharma 2020, Reclaimed Carrara Marble. 52x74x7 
  • Anthropocene fossil no. 1. 2020, Found Alabaster 21x20x16 
  • Do Not Stack 2021, Doulting Stone 190x86x60 
  • The Lens Steel 2021, glass and Ancaster Stone 320x300x120
  • Knife and Fork 2021, Reclaimed Carrara Marble 120x40x12
  • Traffic Cone Marbles: Rosso Collemandina, White Afyon and Corbata Black. 90x60x60