Monday, 5 November 2012

GUEST POST: Elizabeth Little does Sculpture by the Sea

Sculpture By the Sea 2012:  18 October – 4 November, 2012

It’s that time of year again. Spring in Sydney. The jacaranda is in bloom and sculpture is again taking over the coast. This year is Sculpture by the Sea’s 15th outing in its home base of Bondi. Eastern suburb locals are being joined by art lovers, day trippers, families and the merely curious, all jostling with the joggers for space on the narrow path leading from Bondi to Tamarama. This year there are 113 sculptures ranging from the whimsical to the seriously modernist, from emerging artists and the well established.

This, in no particular order, are some of the ones that caught my eye and stayed in my memory, the ones that I have been talking about with my friends.
Elyssa Sykes Smith, Weight pulls me down, strength pulls me up

Elyssa Sykes Smith, Weight pulls me down, strength pulls me up
Elyssa Sykes Smith – Weight pulls me down, strength pulls me up. Sykes-Smith is a recipient of the Clitheroe Foundation Emerging Artists Mentor Program . Made of dozens of timber off-cuts the wooden figure hangs from the edge of the Bondi cliff, its natural colouring blending with the sandstone. Rachel Couper & Ivana Kuzmanovska  piece Mirador  is a  timber dome  situated on the point of the Bondi headland, and resembles a wooden igloo or geodesic dome. Viewers were walking in and around the dome which seemed to bridge the line between sculpture and architecture.
Rachel Couper and Ivana Kuzmanovska, Mirador

Rachel Couper and Ivana Kuzmanovska, Mirador
A couple of the works have strong political messages behind them  including Cave Urban’s Mengenang (memory) and Warwick, Ben & Sam Orme’s Where do the children play?

Located at the edge of St Mark’s park Mengenang (memory) consists of 222 bamboo poles with whirling ends. Like a large wind chime these ‘bird scarers’ have been tuned to D Minor. Visitors are encouraged to walk through the piece, which the catalogue notes began as a reflection on the loss of life in the 2002 Bali bombings. There is one pole for every life lost.
Mengenang (memory)

Mengenang (memory)
The Orme family’s work is a fun piece with a serious question behind it, based on the children’s querying about the lives of refugee children in detention. It consists of 100 toys placed behind bars in the tiny spaces of the honeycomb weathering rocks of the south Bondi headland.

Alex Goad’s work bridges the line between sculpture and nature with his invasive colonisation imitating insect nests hanging from the branches of trees. It’s a vaguely unsettling work that plays on the fear of the unknown, as the viewer wonders just what is hatching within these white nests.
Alex Goad, invasive colonisation

Alex Goad, invasive colonisation

Gaye Jurisich ‘s Playpen  is another work that hangs from the trees. This however is a benign piece made of coloured satin ribbons that gracefully move with the wind.
Gaye Jurisich, Playpen

David Horton – Chardin’s table (after the attributes of civilian music) is a sculptural response to the paintings of the French artist Jean Baptiste Chardin and his quiet scenes of everyday life in the mid 1800s. Horton plays with the idea and actuality of the table form, creating both the table and the objects on it in mild steel that has developed a deep rust red patina, which helps fuse both table and objects into one united piece.
David Horton, Chardin’s table (after the attributes of civilian music)

In balance with energies Keld Moselhelm provides a whimsical comment on contemporary life. This is a figurative sculpture in which a bronze figure of a woman balances precariously on a ball that is itself balanced on a stylised wave form, that sits a top a granite base.
Keld Moselhelm, balance with energies 

Alex Ritchie’s Kaleidoscope cube was proving to be a hit with the kids on the beach at Tamarama. Consisting of sixteen polished aluminium columns set up in a 4 x 4 configuration it had just enough space between each column for a 7 year old to play hide and seek, disappearing between columns while being reflected in others and reappearing behind yet another. The kids were also having fun with Sandy Bliim’s giant baby doll head, Clytie, leaning into her hollow eyes and yelling, listening to the echoing sound in the metal sculpture. Bliim normally works in a much smaller scale, so it was good to see her (possibly literally) stretching herself and creating a much larger piece.
Alex Ritchie, Kaleidoscope cube

Overlooking the fun on the beach was Anagram’s Colony, dozens of brightly coloured painted timber artist mannequins sitting on the café roof at Tamarama, chatting amongst themselves, practicing their surfing moves and playfully mimicking the crowds.
Anagram, Colony

Elaine Clocherty’s together is a subtle piece that lies along the edge of the park at Tamarama, just underneath the cliff face. A  site specific work it is made of found natural materials including pine cones, seeds and what looked like slices of bottle brush flowers. And yet again the former Tamarama Wonderland City Amusement Park is referenced, this year in Rod McRae’s Tent of Wonders – a side show alley installation of disappearing wildlife, and none too subtle comment of the Western European tradition of removing exotic beasts from their natural habitat for display in zoos or killed, stuffed and mounted as the trophies of ‘intrepid’ game hunters.
Elaine Clocherty, together
Rod McRae, Tent of Wonders

Rod McRae, Tent of Wonders

As with previous Sculpture by Sea exhibitions this year there is much to provoke thought, to amuse and delight, as well to marvel at the skill of the artist and their imagination.

Elizabeth Little has a B. Art Theory (Hons)and M Art Admin, COFA UNSW. She lives and works in Sydney.

All images supplied by the writer.

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