View of ‘Opening Matters’, pop-up show , 2020 at Unit 3, London.
L-R: Sheila Vollmer ‘Stretch’, 2019, Gillian Brent ‘Not a Table 2’, 2020, Alexandra Harley ‘Clymdych’, 2019,  Sheila Vollmer ‘Cirque 2’, 2019. Photo: Peter Griffiths

Talking Sculpture Making (TSM) is an exhibiting and discussion forum organised by three women abstract sculptors: 

Gillian BrentAlexandra Harley, and Sheila Vollmer

Each artist works innovatively with material, form, mass, space, scale and colour. Each artist’s work is distinct in the use of abstract construction, yet there is a definite sense of a common visual language and collective experience, emerging from a female perspective.

TSM was formed in 2019 to share the experiences of the artists and to provide and generate support and shared networks. All the artists have been working and exhibiting nationally and internationally, since the 1980s. 

Their exhibitions showcase abstract sculpture and considers its importance and relevance today. They are working to provide opportunities to have a broader dialogue with audiences, including artists, curators, students, art historians, academics and gallery visitors regarding the history and future generations of women working in this discipline 

There is still underrepresentation of women sculptors in the genre and TSM hope to redress this imbalance, augmenting their voices and providing a showcase for women’s practices.

‘Somewhere in the 1990s, the artist in her studio took a permanent backseat to the politics of assertion: the declarations of race, sexuality, and class. ‘Preciousness’ became a term used to denigrate abstraction. And yet the qualities it implied were arguably symptomatic of abstraction: a sensitivity to objects, and the disquieting intensity devoted to the process of making them.’

Jenni Sorkin, art historian, critic, Associate Professor of Contemporary Art History at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

TSM was formerly called This Stuff Matters. Due to some feedback, the artists decided to change the group’s name to Talking Sculpture Making in June 2023.

TSM originally had four members. Jill Gibson, who showed work and contributed to the discussions in the first three exhibitions, has moved to France and decided not to continue as a member. The other TSM members wish her all the very best in her future work and projects.