This Saturday 2nd September, we’re really excited that visitors to the Riverside Bedford launch will have the chance to meet and chat with William Rounce, the artist behind Bedford’s newest piece of public art.
Entitled The Frog, and commissioned in association with Bedford Creative Arts, the artwork was installed last week as part of the on-going development of Riverside Square. Taking its inspiration from Bedford’s brick-making past, the panels depict repeated images of the ‘frog’ or top of a brick and were commissioned by the developers of Riverside Bedford specifically to conceal an electricity substation that is situated on the square.
Especially for Saturday’s launch, William has also created an art trail for visitors to explore the inspiration for the piece. It includes the ‘Somewhere in England’ gallery at the Higgins Bedford, where William researched the Stewartby brickworks and saw the brick mould that ultimately formed the basis for the panels’ design.
The Frog isn’t the only element of Riverside Bedford to have taken inspiration from the brickworks. Both Zizzi’s and Gourmet Burger Kitchen have referenced the town’s industrial heritage in their interior design, with exposed brickwork in evidence in both restaurants.
As with most things in Bedford, the artwork has divided opinion, particularly among the many figurative art connoisseurs and critics. ‘But it’s not a frog’ and ‘When’s the hoarding being taken down?’ are typical of the ‘below the line’ comments on social media. We’re looking forward to seeing how the Frog blends into the publics’ consciousness over time; as visitors experience it up-close, understand it’s relevance to our social history and enjoy the visual trickery of the concave and convex ‘frog’ patterns.
Once all of the Riverside Bedford building work is complete, all the units are filled and the square’s trees have matured, the Frog will no doubt become part of the furniture and something that everyone – even the figurative art fans – can grow to love.