London, Sotheby’s, Sculpture and Sculptors’ Drawings from The Ingram Collection, 10 – 21 January 2011;
Somerset, Hestercombe Gallery, A Personal Passion, 25 April – 5 July 2015;
London, Royal College of General Practitioners, Health and the Body, 3 March – 29 May 2016;
Woking, The Lightbox, Celebrating Michael Ayrton: A Centenary Exhibition, 29 May – 8 August 2021
Invader is a generic title that represents the warrior-hero, the pinnacle of male physical power and ability, supposedly the ultimate perfection of physique. But as we look more closely, the body is oddly warped, over-developed in the upper arms, hollow in the centre – the heart and gut, traditional centres of emotion and feeling. And the way the eyes stare from a head poked unnaturally forward on a neck thickened with sinew suggests that even if the body is exactly adapted to its role as a killing machine, the mind may be suffering. Michael Ayrton was intrigued but not, by and large very impressed, by military heroes in any age – one of the things he does here is to use the body itself to question the macho ideal.