A boulder vision

STONE us, that’s some balancing act.

An artist mystified shoppers when he created works of art by balancing heavy, crazy-shaped stones on top of one another.

Adrian Gray balances a stone on top of another in the Main Square at Middleton Grange Shopping Centre. Photograph by FRANK REID

Adrian Gray balances a stone on top of another in the Main Square at Middleton Grange Shopping Centre. Photograph by FRANK REID

Adrian Gray held the demonstration in Hartlepool’s Middleton Grange Shopping Centre yesterday to promote his new exhibition at Hartlepool Art Gallery.

Despite looking like they are stuck together with glue, Adrian uses only the forces of nature to create his astonishing sculptures.

They stay in place simply through the natural forces of gravity and friction.

He said: “People were surprised and mystified and puzzled by what they saw.

“They were curious about how it was happening and were quite excited so it went pretty successfully.”

Adrian, from Lyme Regis, Dorset, started experimenting with balancing objects 10 years ago when he was making small stone figures and was trying to get the head right.

“I thought it looked such an interesting idea that I had to try and work with that a bit more.

“I experimented and the whole thing developed from making stone figures.

“I would like to get bigger but I am limited by what I can lift.

“The bigger it is the more impact it has for the audience.

“It is something that people are genuinely fascinated by.”

Adrian, 51, wanders the beaches near his home in Dorset to find weird and wonderful shaped rocks to work with.

He often balances them end on end where he finds them and photographs the effect.

Adrian added: “Balance is intuitive. We naturally balance something by making minor adjustments.

“Although the balancing is crucial it is not just an exercise in balancing.

“It is more about the aesthetic of what it looks like and the overall picture.”

Stone balancing is a form of performance art.

Looking at Adrian’s creations spark a range of emotions in people such as calming, tense, therapeutic, mesmerising, beautiful, puzzling and even spiritual.

Around 200 people attended a preview night for Adrian’s new exhibition at Hartlepool Art Gallery on Friday.

He says it is one of the best galleries he has ever exhibited in.

“Most galleries are very limited for space,” said Adrian. “I think I will look back and think Hartlepool Art Gallery is one of the best and most spacious I have worked in and feel quite privileged and pleased to have my show there.”

The exhibition features five sculptures and numerous photographs of his work and runs until Saturday, November 10.

The gallery in Church Square is open Tuesdays to Fridays from 10am to 4.30pm and Saturdays 10am to 4pm and admission is free.