From November 1982 to February 1983, John McEwen was Artist-in-Residence at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. During this time he made and installed two major works: Marconi (1983) and Through the Trees and Into the Woods (1983). Both sculptures were cut from 2.5 inch steel plate. Both use images of dogs with steel cables.
Marconi (1983) was sited on the elegant Italian Terrace at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park before leaving for the Canada House Cultural Centre Gallery, London. It had a real dog collar and it's chain was attached to a long dog run (a steel cable which is bound at both ends with steel blocks). The impression given was a free run the length of the cable and as wide as the lead allowed. However, the dog had slipped it's collar but remained beside the cable still on guard, watching.
Through the Trees and into the Woods consisted of two dogs (both life sized silhouettes and both worked from templates), a 100’ tightrope (metal cable) and a miniature running figure of a man carrying two knives (forged steel). The sculpture was sited in relationship to a number of large beech trees, allowing open vistas and framed views of the work. It had a good sense of scale and the haunting images of dogs could be seen from far distances without diminishing in intensity. The two dogs gazed across the cable along which the figure was destined to run. The alertness of one dog, the placidity of the other, and the fate of the runner all created a tension and complex relationship with the Bretton landscape.