Charlotte Mayer’s family came from Prague, moving to England in 1939. She studied at Goldsmith’s College at the young age of 16, and then went onto the Royal College of Art, where she was taught by Frank Dobson and John Skeaping who Mayer remembers encouraged his pupils to experiment with natural materials, a technique that she still uses today.
Mayer’s early sculpture was primarily figurative and carved from stone. After a visit to New York in 1967 however, Mayer began experimenting with welded steel having been inspired by the scale and architecture of the buildings.
During the 1970s Mayer returned to her interest in the natural world thanks to holidays taken with her family on Dartmoor. Her work developed into beautiful poised, serene forms inspired by pods, leaves, shells and ammonites, with movement becoming a significant characteristic of her work. In her recently published monograph Mayer recalls her first sculptural experience as a young girl carving chestnuts with a small silver penknife with the family’s housekeeper in Prague. She says:
This very simple carving was my first real memory of ‘sculpture’ - by which I mean a form deliberately made. It seems to me now that these two activities reflect the entire religious process and can be symbolised by the spiral. If one shows a drawing of a spiral to someone and asks them which way it moves, most people will say it starts at the centre and moves outwards. This, in essence, is what modelling is about. it is the story of the Creation as in Genesis and in the Upanishads.
Mayer’s affinity with the natural world can certainly be seen in her outdoor sculpture where simple curves and subtle plays of light sit in perfect harmony with their natural surroundings. Her sculpture also works well in an architectural setting and she has been commissioned to create work for a number of commercial institutions including BNP Paribas, London. Mayer is represented in a number of other corporate, institutional and private collections in Europe, Japan, Hong Kong and the USA. She lives and works in London.