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Sculptor of sugar

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Sculptor of sugar thumbnailA sweet deal! Mark Revels will create a sculpture made of sugar cubes for display at a major exhibition in Dubai later this year.

LOUGHBRICKLAND sculptor Mark Revels is set for balmier climates later this year as he brings his successful sugar cube exhibition to Dubai.

Along with sculpture partner Brendan Jamison, the artistic duo are global pioneers in the field of carved sugar cube sculpture.

They create large-scale works that push the boundaries of contemporary architecture and engineering.

And they have created a special sugar metropolis for Think Science Dubai, an event designed to inspire the next generation of young scientists.

Sponsored by the Emirates Foundation, the annual event is being held in Dubai's World Trade Center from 20-22 April.

For the exhibition, Mark has carved the world's tallest building, Burj Khalifa in Dubai which stands at 829.8 metres high and is rendered at a scale of 1:1000 in this magical sugar cube creation.

He said: "2017 sees the tower celebrate its 10th anniversary as the world's tallest free-standing structure.

“With 156 floors, it is a pioneering feat of engineering. The structural design is based on the hymenocallis flower, intelligently combining aesthetics with the science of stability. American architect Adrian Smith designed a spiralling Y-shaped plan which ascends with 26 stepped tiers. These increments reduce wind forces and prevent wind vortices from occurring over the building."

Meanwhile, Mark's sculpture partner Brendan has carved the other most iconic building in Dubai, the Burj Al Arab, which opened in 1999 as a luxury hotel.

A Loughbrickland native, Mark bought his grandfather's old house after it had left the family following his grandfather's passing in 2002.

He added: "I was able to purchase it back in 2013 and set up my studio within the grounds of the house, which is in the heart of Loughbrickland.

“Over the past three years I have been travelling around the world at least five months of the year. In 2015 I was in China, USA, Germany, Italy and France and in 2016 I was in the USA, Ukraine and Italy.

“That worked out at just under five months away from home. This year with all the projects I will be away for just shy of six months."

Mark, a past pupil of Banbridge High, loves the mix of travel and then returning home to take time out to see his family and friends as well as creating new work.

“I do like the quiet life in the village as it's a great balance to the madness I experience on my travels around the globe. I also have been joined by a stray tiger cat which chose me to be his mate, maybe it was the tuna that sealed the deal with him! When I'm away my mum and dad look after him at my house as they only live around the corner," he said.

As well as travelling to Dubai in the spring, Mark is also preparing for other trips abroad this year to Kiev, Ukraine and a three-month tour in the USA and Russia.

Mark leaves for America in June and this will be the third year in a row himself and Brendan have been commissioned by the pharmaceutical company, Abbott for their sugar cube installation.

He added: "They are a global organisation and the branch of Abbott which commission us is 'Abbott Diabetes Care'. They have a brand called Freestyle, which develops and supplies diabetic blood testing strips, as well as blood testing metres.

“Abbott commissioned us in 2015 to develop a sugar cube installation as part of their large Expo, which was part of the AADE (American Association of Diabetes Educators), which occurs somewhere different in the USA each year."

This year's tour will have a similar focus to educate people about diabetes and has stops confirmed at Chicago, Boston, Washington DC, Indianapolis and New York, with more to be announced.

A bit closer to home, Mark will feature as part of a show in Belfast with five other artists this November called 'War'.

War will feature in the Platform Arts, Belfast and the premise of the show is to explore war and the devastation it causes to humanity as well as the negative and empty legacy it leaves behind for future generations.

Mark's large outdoor ceramic sculpture called 'Biofilm Under Construction' (2015) is also a permanent display in the front gardens of the F.E McWilliam gallery, Banbridge. He was commissioned by the gallery to do the work back in 2015. 

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