Sculpture Park Tour
As I am a member of the McClelland Guild of Artists I spend quite a bit of time in the gallery grounds. It is a great way to not only relax but also to enjoy any new exhibits. The landscape, wildlife and bushland around all the sculptures is also enjoyable for an artist.
Wandering around at your leisure can allow time to give your own interpretation to sculptures but on this occasion I was suffering from tendon problems so took the ride-on tour with a guide. Doing both I suggest is a great idea. Guides can tell you more about the artist and also how the work was done, materials used and a little of the story behind a work as told by the original artist.
There is a wide range of styles and methods in the park from realist to very obscure. I took a lot of notes about works that got my attention, in particular noting materials used in an effort to understand why they were used for outdoor works where weather is an issue. Some were done in the desire to have the weather “finish” the piece by the ageing process on the materials, others were done with withstanding conditions in mind.
As with my taste in paintings, I found that the more realist works were more interesting for me. Even with a moving story behind a sculpture, I could not make an emotional connection if the sculpture was too obscure in representing it. I related to the two works by Peter Schipperhoen as they were more realist, his marble torso with it’s soft curves was especially lovely.
I walked through the exhibits in the gallery on my own. I had recently been in to see both these exhibits and wanted to go back over my initial impressions.
One one side of the gallery were very realist sculptures, some over sized. This newer method of artwork called hyper-realistic, to me, is very in your face. Every detail is there and when the piece is probably twice life size and naked, it really is intimidating!
I walked through and studied each piece and sat back to examine my reactions. There was some appreciation of the technical ability but not a lot of the “wow”. I spent more time relating to a small mixed media sculpture by Ricky Swallow. The tool marks were still on the work so I could instantly relate to the artist. There was heaps of room for personal interpretation and appreciation of the materials.
The other side of the gallery had inks on paper showing portraits of children. I really liked the washes and there was emotion in the faces, albeit what looked like mostly sad expressions. I noted at the time that they had lovely “painterly” and soft finishes but were disturbing.
The photographs by Rosemary Laing and Christian Thompson held no great interest for me. As I have manipulated photos for many years on the computer I didn’t see a lot of anything new or creative in these images and they held no emotive impact for me at all.
The sculpture in the centre of this part of the gallery was interesting in the realistic use of materials but also creepy. I don’t know what sort of animal was supposed to be depicted but I didn’t find it enjoyable to look at and I would have been more at home in a butcher’s shop.
I always like going for a walk through the McClelland parkland. I think it is more for the natural beauty than some of the sculptures.
I have found that when painting for me there is such a thing as too realistic. My interest in something is lessened when there is too much detail or it looks too much like a photograph.
There seems to be less of the artist in these types of artworks for me. I like to see marks, brushstrokes etc left by the artist. I like having some details left out for me to interpret. I can make more of an emotional connection with something that retains the touch of the artist and allows me to make my own journey. I have also found that negative emotions or very abstract concepts hold little appeal for me.
In some cases I would rather have looked at the surrounding bush than the sculpture in it and moved along more quickly to something else when making no connection or a negative one with an artwork.