Featured Artist: Joanne Risley


Our current featured artist, Joanne Risley, creates large outdoor sculptures, inspired by natural forms. She spoke to MAFA about a couple of her most recent works:

“My work follows a tradition of sculptural object making where craftsmanship and hand-finishing are important, using a range of media including Cor-ten steel, and bronze. I am interested in the repeated forms found within diverse natural elements, linking the microscopic with the monumental and use mathematics in the construction and planning of my forms. I do not seek to copy nature, rather to absorb, filter and create something new from the things I have seen and the experiences I have had.

I like to be playful in my work and am drawn to quirkiness. I find the processes of conception, growth, flux and evolution endlessly fascinating and seek to capture something of the wonder and power of nature. I am making links between natural processes and politics and have an interest in the power dynamics between the public, politicians and the media.

My forms are derived from botany and microbiology. By creating forms from geometric metal sections they become strange otherworldly objects which echo munitions and spacecraft.

My current body of work is mainly fabricated from Cor-ten steel using shapes drawn on a computer then laser cut and TIG welded. A lot of my earlier work involved building forms over an armature. I loved the armatures, skeletal forms appearing as three dimensional drawings in space. Some of my recent work allows the viewer to see through the forms, rendering microscopic viruses or seed pods as large outdoor sculptures.”

Moving Forward, Looking Back

Moving Forward, Looking Back was installed at The National Memorial Arboretum in June 2022. It was created as a memorial sculpture for The Cheshire Yeomanry marking their 225th year. The brief was to create a sculpture that would provide dignity and a place to pause as well as reflecting the pride of the regiment and all those who have served and will serve in the future. The regiment were the last to fight on horseback and the piece was designed to reflect its close relationship with horses and the armoured vehicles with which it has also served. The sculpture depicts a rearing horse created from forms which were visually sourced from past and current armoured vehicles the regiment have used. Fabricated from Cor-ten steel, much of which was laser cut, the sculpture also has a bronze plaque bearing the regimental insignia.”

Joanne Risley Moving Forward, Looking Back
Joanne Risley, Moving Forward, Looking Back, 2022, Cor-ten Steel and Bronze.


Virus was created in 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic. It is part of a body of work based on natural forms fashioned from geometric shapes. I am interested in using the repeated patterns found in nature to create large sculptures that take on an otherworldly presence.”

Joanne Risley Virus
Joanne Risley, Virus, 2022, Bronze.

To find out more about Joanne Risley’s work, click here to visit her website.

Category: Featured Artist,News