Friday, 31 October 2008

Television Within, Television Without (Sculpture By The Sea 12)

Dawn at Marks Park, midway between Tamarama and Bondi. My first "Skywatch Friday" entry.

Mark Wotherspoon, the creator of Television within, television without says: "This work is about the role television is playing in our daily lives, and in particular its effects on children. A child gazing away from the television - towards the imagination."

It is made from recycled television glass and stainless steel.

To view all my 2008 Sculpture By The Sea posts CLICK HERE.

Click here to discover what the sky looks like in other parts of the world.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Soldier Scale 1:1 (Sculpture By The Sea 11)

I thought a switch from animals to the human form might be in order today. Last year, one of my favourite SxS pieces, Bella, was sitting hereabouts (no prizes for guessing, with my love of swimming why she was a favourite!)

This is an altogether bleaker subject. This anguished soldier is made of polystyrene and polyurethane. Artists Ruth Bellotti and Steve Rosewell comment: "A normally heroic toy figure is given a twist in this life sized sculpture."

To view all my 2008 Sculpture By The Sea posts CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Mongrel Country - Nil Tenure (Sculpture By The Sea 10)

These dogs are made of steel armature, bitumen, textiles and found objects. Artist Amanda Stuart says: "My intention is to explore the tensions that arise when domestic and wild animal and human communities cohabit a terrain."

Below: The second time I went , I just happened to catch this white "real version" example! You can also see how much the grass has been worn over the duration of the exhibition, by this stage two weeks.

To view all my 2008 Sculpture By The Sea posts CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Every Dog Has Its Day (Sculpture By The Sea 9)

Every Dog Has Its Day by Geoff Harvey. More of Harvey's works - here and here.

I'm sure this one was made especially for Jilly... dogs and the seaside.

Tomorrow: More dogs!

PS In answer to a question from Halcyon who asked what happens to the sculptures: Like most exhibitions, the vast majority are for sale. Some will end up in public or private collections, others will be unsold. The exhibition catalogue lists the prices for each piece where it is for sale (not all are, and some are intentionally ephemeral).

I recently showed this piece on my blog - it was a former SxS piece. And this one "lives" near me; a friend reported that he had seen it recently at a conceet / fair in a park near him.

To view all my 2008 Sculpture By The Sea posts CLICK HERE.

Monday, 27 October 2008

An interregnum (Sculpture By The Sea 8)

This morning I got up before dawn again and headed back to Sculpture By The Sea. This time there was a lovely sunrise, and then blue skies to enhance the beautiful venue. Of course, with the sculptures spread out along the eastern seabord, the rising sun presented its own challenges for a keen, but definitely amateur photographer.

There are hundreds to download from my camera, so while that work is in progress, I thought you might enjoy, or at least be intrigued by this snap of a fellow photographer!

In Internet shorthand, I think the only question to be raised is: WTF? As no doubt these other passers-by were wondering...

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Up In The Air (Sculpture By The Sea 7)

You have to look high to appreciate these works!

Above: Fragment by Kevin Draper. Artist's comment: "This sculpture evolved from a series of works using tripod structures integrated with symbolic plant forms. The tripod acts as an isolating device suspending the tree symbol between the land and the sky."

I love the tree against the sky, especially with the lowering sky, but I'm not very keen on the tripod.

Below: One of the most popular works in the exhibition, and certainly beautiful to watch in motion. It has won the prize for a kinetic work. It's Harmony With The Breeze by Kozo Nishino. The various titanium and stainless steel components move and "flap" in the breeze (which was more like a high wind when I was there). Artist's comment: "I hope the people who come and appreciate my work will feel the comfortable air."

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Curves and Circles (Sculpture By The Sea 6)

A treat for the weekend: a collection of sculptures where curves are the main feature.
Above: M-thirteen by James Parrett. Made of aluminium and marine ply. The artist says: " A continuing fascination with the aesthetic potential of the circular form. Through the dissection and reconfiguration of arcs, new and intriguing possibilities are created."

I certainly found it aesthetically pleasing, and it gave me a sense of harmony and calm.

Below: Keizo Ushio by Oushi Zokei 2008. This much more solid work, of white granite, also please me. This renowned Japanese artist has exhibited ten times in Sculpture by the Sea.

Above: Obelisk by Leonard Sabol, who says: "Obelisk is proof to myself that I can make anything of steel."

Above: Sky Catcher II by Bob Emser. Made of stainless steel and aluminium.

Reminds me of Native North American dream catchers. Through the work, on the sea you can see Spheres by Sophie Hoppe, pvc and polystyrene spheres bobbing on the sea. Hoppe says: "This work is a kinetic installation portraying an invisible constraint" (...errr, whatever that means!)

Tomorrow: From curves to lines and planes

Friday, 24 October 2008

Alice in Wonderland (Sculpture By The Sea 5) by Rod MacRae

Rod McRae, the artist is a sculptor, photographer, educator, illustrator and children's book author.

This park at Tamarama Beach once was the home of Wonderland City, a fun park that drew thousands of people to Tamarama Beach between 1906 and 1911. "Founded by theatrical entrepreneur William Anderson, Wonderland City took up eight hectares of Tamarama Gully, at the western end of the beach, and featured entertainments hitherto unimagined in Australia, including the country's first open-air ice rink, a double-decker merry-go-round and an artificial lake. There were waxworks, a seal pond and an aquarium, plus the Airem Scarem, an airship that tracked on a cable from cliff to cliff. When not taking rides on Alice the resident elephant, crowds would gather to watch daredevil Jack Lewis rollerskate down a ramp, through a flaming hoop and into a tank full of sharks.

But despite pulling huge crowds, Wonderland City eventually ran into trouble. Tamarama locals resented having their beach blocked off and breakdowns of the Airem Scarem prompted several safety scares. The park was closed in 1911." (Sydney Morning Herald, October 11, 2008) Click on that link to find out more about this wonderful group, and the artist.

I adore this has an exuberance that is delightfully infectious. It makes you smile. But even so, it's not actually my absolute favourite of this years sculptures....we've got a way to go yet to that reveal!

NB The Alice referred to is Alice the Elephant, one of the chief attractions at Wonderland, not the story by Lewis Carroll! She is seen in the second, and last, photos.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Making a statement: Humpback Gunship (Sculpture By The Sea 4)

Humpback Gunship by Benjamin Gilbert.

The artist is quoted in The Australian newspaper (October 15, 2008):
"Yes, it's for children..... "Too much sculpture takes itself too seriously."
However, behind the whale's friendly appearance is a serious message: the body will be filled with "100 per cent pure Tasmanian woodchips".

"They're usually shipped off to Japan," said Gilbert.

I was really interested to discover that Ben Gilbert is renowned as an ice sculptor - something that there's not a lot of , well any really, in Australia! And that he likes people to touch and experience his work; no "Do Not Touch" signs near this work!

Here's more about the artist and his work:

"To prepare his stainless-steel humpback whale for curious fingers, Benjamin Gilbert carefully smoothed away its sharp edges.

Inside the whale's hollow stomach he placed canvas cushions for people to sit on. "I believe art is only valuable when it is used," he says.

"There's no point in having something precious locked away."

Once a campaigner with Greenpeace, Gilbert hopes the interactive nature of his work will help people understand its anti-whaling message. With a propeller extending from its water spout and wheels below its chin and tail, the whale resembles a small gunship.

"The bone structure of the humpback whale has fascinated Japanese scientists for generations," he says. "Perhaps they're really using the whales to make military hardware.

"It's a ridiculous sculpture about the ridiculousness of Japanese whaling." (Sydney Morning Herald, October 16, 2008)

Tomorrow: Where in Wonderland are we?

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

More than 15 minutes of fame - Ordinary Extraordinary (Sculpture By The Sea 3)

Ordinary Extraordinary by Ivan Lovatt.
You can view more of Lovatt's chicken wire busts of famous people here and here.

I think it is beautifully executed, and the 44-gallon drum plinth provides great context. I've been pondering how fabulous it would be to be able to creat a portrait in 3-D, using any materials!

This was one of only a few life-like or figurative works in the exhibition.

Do you like it? Do you have a favourite piece of sculptural portraiture / bust?

Tomorrow: From the personal to the political

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Lilywhite (Sculpture By The Sea 2)

Lillywhite by Roger Rigorth.

Materials:wood, coconut fibre and aluminium pipe.

Can you imagine running your fingers across those fibre strands, or sticking your hand in that hole? Maybe there's an octopus caught in there, or something warmer, fluffier and more inviting?

This work appeals to me as being a particularly tactile experience. It reminds me of an outrigger oar and a traditional basket. I like forming my own reactions to the works before reading anything about the artist's or critics' views.

In the Education Kit accompanying the exhibition, it states that it is "based on a cocoon, something between a body and a vessel. It is about carrying things which cannot be seen, touched or smelt. Roger is fascinated with the need to move, to explore, to find things and leave old things behind. He is also fascinated with bodies, cocoons, shells and containers. The theme of this sculpture is that it is a kind of creature that has washed up on the shore of the beach. 'We are surrounded by many invisible energies, thoughts, spoken words and things. This cocoon or 'creature' is an example, which collects these 'things', these stories from everywhere.' Roger is also influenced by tribal societies and their practical, spiritual and mental skills to cooperate with their surroundings and natural environment. He loves wool and all kinds of natural materials, everything which could possibly have a kind of soul." (Source: Sculpture By The Sea 2008 Education Kit)

Read more, and see some sketches here. See more of Roger Rigorth's works here (in German)
and more here.

Tomorrow: A cultural icon of the 20th century, achieveing more than 15 minutes of fame.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Imag ne (Sculpture By The Sea 1)

I Imagine.
I Imagine life without joggers...(it would be easier to walk in Sydney's beautiful places!)

Then I imagine the Unimaginable:
Sydney without Sculpture By The Sea in October/November...
Sydney without the sandstone cliffs and blue seas of its beautiful coastline...

Most weekday mornings I roll out of bed at about 5.15, telling myself it's "good for me" in order to walk or swim. This morning, a grey day, I was on the road before dawn headed for the coast walk between Bondi and Tamarama beaches, to join the rushing stream of joggers and walkers, and view the annual Sculpture By The Sea exhibition.

Over the next however-long-it-takes I'll bring you photos from along the walk.

Sculpture By The Sea has now been exported from Sydney to Perth and Aarhus in Denmark (the latter under the sponsorship of Australian-born Princess Mary of Denmark).

This work, Imag ne is by Emma Anna, who says: "I imagine people sitting out here on the rocks in the afternoon, looking through the gap in the work to the horizon beyond....This part of Sydney is such a beautiful space - you can place a very contemplative sort of sculpture here and it just fits." (Sydney Morning Herald October 16, 2008)

Where do your imaginings take you?

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Pretty front garden

A lovely front garden with neatly trimmed buffalo grass, and flowering borders. So many places nowadays have hard surfaces - paving and concrete - that the traditional front garden is rapidly disappearing. That is happening at the same time as housing densities are increasing, so townhouses, multiple occupancy developments are replacing single suburban lots. There's more demand for off-street parking (see the house next door in the background) as the volume of cars increases that soft surfaces are replaced by concrete aprons to park cars, even in single dwellings.

Anyway, here's an exuberant celebration of the freestanding house with a well-kept front yard.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Friday, 17 October 2008

Balcony Bars

The weekend is upon us again, the weather is forecast to be sparkling, and a balcony bar could be just the place to be!

Thursday, 16 October 2008


Imagine my surprise when I looked up and confronted this fellow from the entranceway of the Australian Museum, College St, Sydney. It is Australia's oldest museum, founded in 1827 and specialises in natural history and anthropology. The beautiful sandstone building it is now in was opened in May 1857. Website.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Trade Wall

Inside the Museum of Sydney is this wall displaying goods available in Sydney shops and streets of the 1830s, as advertised in daily newspapers.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

The Headmaster's Office

I was walking past Sydney Grammar School one night after dark, and saw into this office, which may be the Principal's office (and that's a plant outside displaying its fronds). It brought back a memory of a time I was in the principal's office at high school. I think I entered the principal's office once in my six years there, and can remember being terrified. It was something fairly innocuous - an interview about future "career plans" I think, but you were made to stand, trembling, in front of her, and account for yourself. That school liked to pretend that most of its female-only students were "destined for the professions", which in the early 1970s, for most girls, meant nursing and teaching. The occasional few entered the more hallowed disciplines of the law and medicine.

It was limiting. Thank goodness girls have more options nowadays.

Did you ever find yourself in the principal's office, and what was it for?

Monday, 13 October 2008

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Free Hugs

Juan Mann started the "Free Hugs" movement which has now been adopted in several places around the world. Here he is "off duty".

Here's a wikipedia article on the Free Hugs movement, and here's Juan's own site (

Have you ever been moved to hug a stranger?

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Still Life with Stone and Car

This afternoon I went to a performance of a remarkable Sydney Theatre Company production of The Women of Troy at the Wharf Theatre. Just down Hickson Rd, at the corner of Pottinger St is this sculpture by Jimmie Durham, called Still Life With Stone and Car.

It was created at the forecourt of the Opera House for the 2004 Sydney Biennale, when he dropped the stone onto the car using a crane, and then it was moved to this roundabout in Walsh Bay for an outdoor sculpture display.
The artist, Jimmie Durham, a Cherokee from Arkansas, said of this work:
"Like most of my recent work, this piece is concerned with monuments and monumentality, but also with 'nature'; that implacable hard stuff. In the first instance I am using the stone as a tool; to change the shape of an object. But I also, as usual, want to make stone more light, more moveable, even if it is in a fairly horrible way - like a road accident.. I do not think the piece is humorous; even though it turns out to be. The kind of face painted on the real version will, of course, depend upon the shape of the stone, but it will in any case be placid, and neither 'realistic' nor cartoon-like. To my way of thinking if the stone is simply a stone without a face it becomes a gesture but with the face painted on it, the work develops a strange narrative. "
Read more about the artist and the creation of the piece here.
What do you think of the setting? I think placing it in the centre of a roundabout along a fairly busy, but not too busy, route in an Arts precinct is terrific. It is very accessible and highly visible.
PS - 28 Oct: I have been told that there is a sign nearby (which I missed) telling people that this is an art work, not an actual accident!

Friday, 10 October 2008

Farewell from Queensland

One last post from Queensland. Here we are in our "stinger suits" ready to snorkel.

Left: Stopping for a drink. We're back home now. For more Queensland pics, I've started a new blog and am progressively posting to it: Tropical North Queensland October 2008

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Here's one for Jilly in Menton

Trinity Beach, just north of Cairns. There's no swimming on this part of the beach between November and May because that's "stinger season". The main two to worry about are the Box Jellyfish and the Irukandji Jellyfish.

The Box Jellyfish can administer a sting that inflicts searing pain and leaves prominent scares, and if severe enough can be fatal.

The Irukandji are much smaller than box jellyfish, and inhabit a large sea area that includes the Great Barrier Reef and beaches.

The sting is only moderately painful and scarring is minimal, but approximately 30 minutes after the sting the patient develops severe back and abdominal pain, limb or joint pain, nausea and vomiting, sweating and agitation. It too can be fatal.

Many of the popular beaches have "stinger nets" enclosures designed to keep them out and where swimming should be safe. When we snorkelled on the reef we wore lycra top to toe stinger suits. They even have coverings for your hands and head.

Many beaches in northern Queensland have bottles of vinegar on hand in order to provide first aid treatment. Here's what wikipedia says about vinegar treatment:

Following a sting, vinegar should be applied for a minimum of 30 seconds. Acetic acid, found in vinegar, disables the box jelly's nematocysts that have not yet discharged into the bloodstream (though it will not alleviate the pain). Vinegar may also be applied to adherent tentacles, which should then be removed immediately; this should be done with the use of a towel or glove to avoid bringing the tentacles into further contact with the skin. These tentacles will still sting if separate from the bell, or if the creature is dead. Removing the tentacles without first applying vinegar may cause unfired nematocysts to come into contact with the skin and fire, resulting in a greater degree of envenomation. Vinegar has helped save dozens of lives on Australian beaches.