John Skelton was born in 1923 in Glasgow. He completed his art studies at the Coventry School of Art in Coventry and then pursued further training as an assistant at the Bridgeman’s stonemason’s yard in Lewes. Later on, he was frequently worked for churches, predominantly on relief sculptures, but also on masterfully crafted inscriptions and heraldic motives. His innovative calligraphic forms have had an important influence on the younger generations of artists in this field. Many of Skelton’s thematic works can be found in Stratford-Upon-Avon, the town where Shakespeare was born. Skelton passed away in 1999 in Streat (East Sussex, Great Britain). In 2020, an extensive survey exhibition was held in Snape Maltings, Suffolk, that was dedicated to his artistry of carving letters in stone and other materials.
The sculpture that Skelton created at the Portorož symposium is dedicated to motherhood. The simplified figure of a prone woman with a swollen abdomen can be understood as an interpretation of the pre-historic Venus of Willendorf. The figural curve of the sculpture indicates the beginning of a new phase in Skelton’s artistic development, as it visibly deviates from his earlier sculptures that were straight and linear. Skelton himself said that it was the experience of creating outdoors at the symposium that marked a turning point in his career. Working under the Mediterranean sun throughout the day took great effort and the artist had to constantly move around the sculpture and observe the changes in how light fell on its surface, which completely altered his perception. Up to that point, he perceived sculptures through their planes, as two-dimensional objects that were mostly created in an indoor studio.