Australian Fine Artist

Posts tagged ‘sculpture’

Art Chat

Art Chat by Greg Johns Winner of the 2012 Survey

Date: April 21 2013

Venue: McClelland Gallery

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Today we had fantastic weather for an outdoor chat by the winner of the current McClelland Survey Award. A good sized group attended the talk which was held in front of Greg’s sculpture. The afternoon sun was highlighting the bush setting around the piece and looking through it to the trees and sky gave a new appreciation of how much thought had gone into not only its creation but also placement in the park.

Greg was born in Adelaide and still lives there. He has been a practising artist since the 1970s and has a desire to reflect the organic in his work through an understanding of the Australian landscape down to the smallest level. Greg feels that  true “Australianess” isn’t always reflected in our sculptures, as much as it has been in painting. He is looking for a type of holistic look and feel to his work which has been developing over the past thirty years.

From Australian flora and fauna the patterns of the organic can be seen translated into the work that Greg is producing. He tries to understand where his works will be put when completed so that during the design process, which includes a lot of sketching, maquettes and measuring, fabricators don’t drift off design specification. This instinct and planning means that the finished product will be as suitable for the site as he can make it whilst still being very creative.

The use of Corten Steel is a deliberate decision to show up the natural colours in Australia’s iron rich soil. As the piece is allowed to naturally gain a rusted look, it picks up colours from the environment around it.

As you walk around this sculpture, the scene behind it changes. The shape is not symmetrical so that also changes. With every step you get something new to look at.

Something that you gain from attending a chat like this is the amount of thinking, planning and effort goes into production of an artwork – especially of this size. The thinking from the artist’s perspective is far better than getting an opinion from someone who has never been involved in the creative process and possibly doesn’t even know the artist. It makes walking around the park more enjoyable and each piece more interesting.

As an artist, you gain more understanding of your own profession and processes available to you that you may not have explored before, or how to achieve things that you are trying but not getting the results you want, by taking the time to attend these sessions.

I highly recommend these to any art students or even practising professional artists who are interested in broadening their skills.

Behind the Scenes Offer to Chisholm

As I am a volunteer at the gallery and a student, Imogen has suggested that Chisholm might like to bring the art students over for a Behind the Scenes tour of the gallery. This would take us where visitors are usually not allowed, and we would see archiving areas and what is done in the day to day running of a public space.

I haven’t had the opportunity to talk this over with any teachers at TAFE yet, but am hoping that when I do they think it is a good idea, especially as it is so close! I think it would be an enjoyable activity for the second and third years’ especially. Feedback about this is most welcome. Look forward to a blog about it if it goes ahead! (If it doesn’t I may ask if I can do it as a solo effort anyway as I am really keen to do it!!)

Outdoor Art Chat

Art Chat by Anton McMurray, Antonia Goodfellow and Zoe Amor

Date: April 18 2013

Venue: McClelland Gallery

Today the wet weather cleared up just in time for us to enjoy a walking tour and art chat in the Survey Park with three of the artists who were selected to display for the current McClelland Survey Award.

Anton McMurray

It was a great pleasure to meet the artist behind my favourite piece which also happens to be the first one you see when you enter the Survey. The two majestic columns topped by organic upturned tree roots is a beautiful mix of the man made and  natural worlds meeting. Anton McMurray, the creator of this sculpture told us the story of his travels through Italy and Europe after his father’s death. He was determined to use his inheritance wisely as his father wished, by experiencing the world. From his views of Mount Etna framed by Greek style columns, to the ancient tree roots on the sea shores in Canada the ideas for this artwork were formed.

Anton has had an interest in history all his life, as I am finding that many artists do, and was moved to create a piece that combined his interest with what he had seen. During 2009 and 2010 he began sketching his ideas and during 2011 had access to the tree roots that would form the top of his columns. About six people helped him to finish the various tasks involved in creating his sculpture. He learnt how to do the measuring and lathing out of the flutes around the columns, which also required research into how the ancient Greeks measured and carved out the original ones we see on ancient temples. The finish is aqua oil with a lime wash solution to give an overall unified look. “Seed 2012” looks like an arch welcoming you into the Survey and is very striking. I wish it had been around when I got married, as I used a garden arch which I would have happily replaced with this stunning backdrop!

Antonia Goodfellow

Antonia’s work “Consilience” is the second piece in the survey trail. It looks like a huge rubber ball in the middle of the bush. It is actually made up of many bicycle tyres over a recycled wood substrate.

The textures of the tyres give this work a very interesting look, and it encourages you to get quite tactile with it. The idea came from a natural history publisher who talked about the decline of various species of animals and the impact of humanity on the environment. The aspect of what we do with our waste became a part of this and the subject of “dead space” was introduced when she read about rivers that now have no life in them at all and are called “dead”.

So what do you do with bike tyres, which come from vehicles being used in an effort to be more friendly to the environment? For Antonia, she began coming up with smaller ideas to use them to tell artistic stories about the environment, which eventually led to the creation of this large piece. In it you can see the micro, as in the patterns on a tiny plant pollen to the immensity of a planet. The story is for the viewer to interpret.

Zoe Amor

Zoe’s piece “29” (A memorial to all that is good in the world) is a bronze interpretation of a tree which stands about 2 metres tall. the upturned leaves make “cups” which can catch the rain to fill and spill over and also have beautiful individual etchings on the underside of each leaf. As she lives in central Victoria, there is a lot of the natural world around her as well as farming industries. Zoe takes the time to talk to everyone living in this area to learn about it’s past and what the locals know about the animals and plant life that was and is still there.

It was her wish to convey her understanding of nature, as a kind of memorial like we have for our heroes in society. People can come along later to see what we have and what we care about. Her love of ancient cultures such as Egypt and Etruscan art and architecture were a vessel for combining with the wish to tell a story about our endangered and protected wildlife. With the back to basics idea of the skill and shape of the human hand, Zoe formed her tree, it’s branches and leaves from wax which was then cast and welded together in bronze. The green patina is going to be allowed to age to give the work the ability to blend in with it’s surrounding.

Personal Impressions

I very much enjoyed today’s art chat. I learnt about my favourite piece in the collection and got the opportunity to meet the artist. He seemed very happy that I told him how much I love his work and why – and that I had taken the time to talk to him about it. I also got some handy tips about manipulating wax from Zoe.

Something that I notice when listening to more and more successful artists is their passion, not only for their art but for learning, for history and the natural world. They are passionate about combining their interests, some of which they have had since childhood. A love of ancient history seems to be common as well as the desire to keep discovering the world and protect what can not protect itself. They are very inspiring people and a morning in their company is time well spent.

Behind the Scenes Offer to Chisholm

As I am a volunteer at the gallery and a student, Imogen has suggested that Chisholm might like to bring the art students over for a Behind the Scenes tour of the gallery. This would take us where visitors are usually not allowed, and we would see archiving areas and what is done in the day to day running of a public space.

I haven’t had the opportunity to talk this over with any teachers at TAFE yet, but am hoping that when I do they think it is a good idea, especially as it is so close! I think it would be an enjoyable activity for the second and third years’ especially. Feedback about this is most welcome. Look forward to a blog about it if it goes ahead! (If it doesn’t I may ask if I can do it as a solo effort anyway as I am really keen to do it!!)

McClelland Survey – Selected Works

Art Chat by Lani Fender, Damien Elderfield, Robert Delves and Chaco Kato

Date: February 28, 2013

Venue: McClelland Survey at McClelland Gallery

Out in the changing weather in Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsula, a hardy group which included a few students from TAFE walked around the 2013 Survey to hear artists talk about the experience of planning, design ing and building their pieces for the 2012 Survey.

The first was a cooperation between an architect and artist called “The Grassy Mole 2012”. Lani and Damien seemed to have a great rapport as they chatted about the process of design which was mostly from an architectural plan, to the building which was mostly done by Damien, the artist who also brought his vision for the piece into the design as well as the positioning in the park. From a small-scale design, the environment and surrounding landscape was considered as very important. How was the work going to fit in, reflect and interact with it’s placement. How was it going to work for viewers and all ages that would not only look at it but walk in and around it? this is where OH&S and engineering came into the plan as well as working with the organisers at the gallery.

The second piece was “Urban Wildlife” by Robert Delves. This was the result of a 3 year project motivated by the drawings done when Cook discovered Australia through to the drawings of George Stubbs, but applied in reverse. Instead of working towards lifelike and realist presentation of his kangaroos, Roberts started with realist drawings and moved away to his own stylised versions. By going out and asking for the cooperation of councils and roadwork crews, he was able to acquire road signs as a way to construct his vision of the natural environment via man-made materials and the impact of urbanisation. He also allows the site to influence his design and has been inspired to go larger and keep experimenting for future sculptures. Inspired by artists such as Rosalie Gascoigne, who he knew personally, Robert is enjoying the process of learning how he feels about being “Australian” through his art.

The last piece was by Chaco Kato, called “Himo Theory”. This large installation was also inspired by the surrounding area. Chaco spent a lot of time working out how it would fit in and around the trees and much of the work was not finalised until she was on site. The string, which is white, hangs like spider’s webs, overlapping and inviting you to walk into it at the same time. The hanging pieces in the centre look like elaborate light fittings or chandeliers and the views through the gaps in the string show interesting shapes and colours from the surrounding bushland. Light, wind and positioning are very important in the construction of this piece and it was designed from sketches on site with a lot of care. The interaction of viewers was also very important.

Common themes gleaned from these artists were consideration of the environment, cooperation with other artists and organisers, thought for viewers in a three dimensional space, creation of a safe installation and taking a risk to make something creative and outside their comfort zone.

Rather than hearing or reading from a third party, listening to the artists themselves talking about their journey of creation is not only interesting from a non-artist’s point of view but very informative and inspiring for practising artists as well. Reflected by the wide range of ages and types of people who attended in the rain and wind today.