Sunday 23rd November was the day for the official opening of the 2014 McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Park Survey. This exhibition of open air sculptures showcases some of the most inventive and creative works I have seen in ages. This is only my personal opinion from a first visit, but I felt that on the whole the work this year surpassed those of previous years, which is saying something.
The visit for me began with the usual speeches by judge, dignitaries and the Director of the Gallery, which was followed by the awards to the winning artists and their speeches. This was all held on the lawns in front of the gallery building, and on such a warm sunny day, was a very pleasant experience. We were then free to mingle, network and take the tour for ourselves to check out all the works including those that were awarded prizes. Artists were on site, so it was an added bonus to be able to talk to a couple of them about their process and arts practices, as well as the work they had submitted.
The works selected as finalists for this open air show are usually of a very high standard, but at each turn on Sunday, I was surprised and amazed at the inventiveness of the works in this year’s show.
For anyone with interest in art, or a curiosity about sculpture, even those who would like a fun walk through natural bushland with a blend of artworks included at intervals, I would recommend this show. The other good thing about the Survey is that it is a long running show, so there is plenty of time to visit and revisit to see the pieces that may take your fancy.
There is something in this Survey for everyone. Fun pieces, “serious” sculptures, loads of different materials from bronze through to LED lighting, sound effects, recycled materials and fibreglass – and many different subjects.
I have a soft spot for the McClelland Gallery, not only because I volunteer there in the Educational Department, but because it is one of those gallery spaces that you can visit for a break away from the rush of daily life. The lake, wild life, natural surroundings and the placement of artworks throughout the property makes a great place for families to visit, couples to take time out, or artists like me, to catch a breath and be inspired by the work of other talented artists. The bush trail for the survey is like a walk you would take when a lot further away from the suburbs in a national park, but this one is easily accessed, an easy walk as it isn’t too long, and for those that are a little impaired, a small vehicle is available for the tours around the park (I have used this when my tendons were playing up a couple of years ago, and we had great fun chatting away during our tour).
The Gallery also has a lovely little café which serves light snacks and very filling lunches. The volunteers often have lunch there after the art workshops for kids and school groups. There is also a small book shop and souvenirs on the way into the café that are worth checking out.
McClelland Gallery is free to enter, but I to urge everyone to make a donation as they approach the front counter in the Gallery building. Even if you only have a gold coin, every donation is appreciated and goes towards making the gallery a better place to visit and to finance the programs that are run throughout the year.
I have included a few photos from my visit. One is a winner, but you will have to visit to check out which one it is!
Currently running at the Gallery are two exhibitions inside the Gallery building. Both these were opened on Sunday along with the Survey.
Last Resort – 16 November-8 February 2015
I think the kids will get a kick out of the over life-size works in this one, as well as the swivelling flowers as you enter the gallery space. Many of the works are drawn from the style of Anime, so bright colours and interesting characters abound. Just keep an eye on a couple of the prints with firearms in them in case that is a concern for you.
This is Not a Life Saving Device – 23 November-8 February 2015
The works in this exhibition are not a lot in number, but beautifully executed. Stone has been made to look like inflatable material and rope. It is done so well that even when you look at them close up, you have to tell yourself that this is in fact stone or marble and not an inflated plastic piece.