Lorne Sculpture Biennale

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Sunday Studio Visit – Lorne Sculpture Biennale

Its been a few weeks since I did a Sunday Studio visit post – I have been so busy, and one of the reasons for this I have written about HERE (and this is still ongoing!) and I will write a post soon about the other major project soon!!

Today, however I took time out of the busy schedule to visit the Lorne Sculpture Biennale. It is a great show which I have had work in during previous years, and this year had a sculpture in the Wye River Project – an exhibition of small sculpture organised in support of the Wye River and surrounding community devastated by the Christmas Day bushfires.

I vividly remember the ‘breaking news’ stories on Christmas Day, which was hot on the trail of the Scotsburn fires nearer my home which I have written briefly about HERE. Lorne is also special to me as I half grew up near the area (Torquay); ran a business which serviced the area for several years; and have participated in the Lorne sculpture show previously.

So it was great to be able to participate in the Wye River project to support the community – with this sculpture, which I posted about during the ‘work in progress’ phase HERE.

Water C

Water Channel – mixed mediaWye River

Wye River is a small community, so, as expected, does not have a gallery space, so sculptures were exhibited at the General Store and the Wye Beach Hotel – here is a pic in situ with lots of wine/beer rings on the plinth – I like to think this means it got looked at alot!

Dawn Whitehand Wye River

But back to the Biennale… I, of course, had my favourites, some of which I have posed on Instagram, and remarkedly my fav aligned with the judges and the peoples choice awards – not very often that happens! Unfortunately  (and stupidly) I didn’t bring my wide angle lens, so just have a couple of pics (but will be posting more soon). The winning artist is Jennifer Crompton for Sea Country Spirits, an amazing installation of organic and sea inspired forms made from an array of materials – wire through to feathers and shells – all suspended from trees so that the viewer could walk within the created environment accentuated by the natural movement stirred by the breeze which created a surreal and almost apocalyptic feel – if there had been no people strolling around!!

Visually delicate and mostly white in colour, the forms suggested the fragility of the Great Barrier Reef coral and the current bleaching of it which is such a hot topic at the moment in Australia. I’m not sure if this was Crompton’s intent as artist statements were not displayed with the works, but this is how it spoke to me – more about that in a future blog post.

Surprisingly my most favourite sculpture was not actually part of the exhibition! And I almost got cut off from the mainland during photographing it due to the tide coming in!!

A beautiful rock sculpture, reminiscent of Andy Goldsworthy created on the gorgeous rockscape of Lorne, this sculptor has been in every Biennale show – but not by invitation!! He gatecrashes and installs his sculpture amongst the selected artworks – which I think is fantastic! It begs the question about what are art exhibitions, who gets in, what they mean, and to whom? More about this in my upcoming post also.

Lorne Sculpture Biennale 2016

Photograph – Dawn Whitehand

So, for now to finish of this quasi studio visit I’ll leave you with my favs from the exhibition …. enjoy, though I will be posting a more in depth review in the coming week, so stay tuned 🙂

Sunday Studio Visit – new sculpture

Today in the studio I am creating a new sculpture. It’s been a while since I created new sculpture – not sure why, it seems so many other things get in the way!

So why am I creating a new sculpture – some motivation, I guess!! Recently I was invited to create a work for a micro exhibition for the Lorne Sculpture Biennale in response to the bushfires that occurred on Christmas Day in the Wye River area. The brief was positivity and regeneration.

I was really pleased to be asked, as only a month before I had experienced a large scale bushfire near my home where some close friends had been affected, but thankfully had kept their house and business, though unfortunately many other homes were lost! And three years ago the mount I live at the base of had been on fire. So, in a way, making a sculpture for the Wye River bushfire also allowed me to communicate the emotions I had felt in response to the other two fires.

Photo: Dawn Whitehand

Mount Warrenheip fire 2013 Photo: Dawn Whitehand – View from my backyard

Photo : Dawn Whitehand Scotsburn Bushfires 2015

Photo : Dawn Whitehand Scotsburn Bushfires 2015

So with these thoughts in my head as a starting point I started out in the studio with a pre conceived concept, but – of course – ended up with something completely different.

Now, this above thought is not be taken lightly, and I am intending to write a post about this in the future Why was I able to change my concept/design on the run? I believe the arts cultivates dynamic thinking which can drive innovation and be flexible upon need…. this is why STEM needs to be STEAM in our education system (*see below).

But back to my sculpture… I am not going to post a completed picture of the work, that will come at the opening or after, however, I will post some progress pics from the studio today …. cheers 🙂

*STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics
*STEAM = Science, Technology, Engineering, ARTS, Mathematics


Lorne Sculpture Biennale – SculptureScape

The Lorne Sculpture Biennale closed on March 30th, so this post is a little slow in coming!  It has been a busy couple of months (curating exhibitions, etc) so it has taken me a while to organise my thoughts and reflect on the exhibition.

The show has three categories – the Sculpture Trail featuring large works along the beach front, the Small Sculpture Show, and SculptureScape featuring temporary works made in situ by twenty artists over the four weekends of the show. I participated in the SculptureScape section on the opening weekend of the show, and also attended the closing weekend, so saw nine ScuptureScape works.

The SculptureScape category is intended to be interactive, with Biennale visitors, and anyone else spending a day in Lorne, being able to observe the creative practice of the maker, ask questions, and in some instances participate in the creative process. The Lorne Scuplture Biennale is currently the only “sculpture trail’ type show with this type of category.

Peter Burke’s Ban the Biennale invited public participation by asking people to create placards with questions or statements intended to generate discussion about what art actually is. Signs such “How can Art change the World” and “Where is the Plinth” were installed around the lone protester (Peter Burke) tent, where he sat to give the public ‘information’. When he wasn’t in his tent he was riding a tricycle around the town broadcasting questions and statements taken from the placards through a megaphone. By the end of the weekend his tent was surrounded by a sea of placards of all sizes and colours and asking lots of questions about the meaning of art. As a project it was very successful with people eagerly wanting to make a placard and write something radical. Though many people would have joined in because of the seeming disobedience the project, it did promote a discussion about art amongst people who may not have given these concepts much consideration beforehand.


Peter Burke:  Ban the Biennale

Urban Debris was an installation of three large forms resembling tree branches made from plastic drink bottles and supermarket plastic bags, created in situ by Kate Gorman. Currently her art practice involves investigating a range of materials that enable her to explore human perceptions of landscape and nature. Gorman’s use of plastic bags and bottles on the Lorne foreshore highlights the impact our modern throw-away society has on the ocean and coastal environment.

Urban Debris by Kate Gorman

Urban Debris by Kate Gorman


Slightly removed from the beach, along the treed walkway between the swing bridge and the camping ground, passersby could help Forest Keegel create Hyperventilate, a temporary installation of used paper bags. Keegel collected used paper bags during the year leading up to the Biennale  which she scrunches and twists into organic forms representing an array of living organisms. She views the paper bag as the ideal material to communicate her environmental message – the tree is cut down, paper pulp is made, through a high energy high water process the paper bag is made, the bag is transported to its destination, it is used usually only once, then discarded. In Keegel’s words:

    “a discardable husk, a plain wrapper masquerading as an environmentally responsible choice…”

Keegel installed her collected paper bags in colonies along tree branches and crevices, an infection of self devourment. Although she had been collecting paper bags over a period of time,  Keegel needed more and asked passersby to donate any paper bags they had (take away food-ironically fulfilling the masquerading environmental choice) and scrunch them into organic forms that were added to the artwork as it evolved. AND Forest was the winner within this category – I must say it was one of my favourite works!


Forest Keegel : Hyperventilate


The front lawns of the Uniting Church were temporarily transformed into a sea of colour by Anthony Sawrey with his work Level Check. Trained as a painter Sawrey found studio art too limiting at times and has been recently creating large outdoor works using organic line marking fluid and an industrial spray pump, an artform he calls Environmental Painting. The end result of this grassy intervention certainly stopped early Autumn Lorne visitors in their tracks!

Back on the beach Amanda Hills was creating Discomedusa, an installation that asks the question:

    “In order to survive the advances in technology how must we adapt to our rapidly changing environment?”

Hills uses the jellyfish as a metaphor to address this question. Jellyfish live in a constant flux, being washed up onto the shore, then being reclaimed by the sea. The jellyfish Hills creates, however, are in the shape of peta bottle bases and other consumerist throwaway objects. So, in order to survive advances in technology we must morph and become more like it?

A short stroll away Laine Hogarty was installing Line in the Sand with the help of volunteering spectators. Like much of her artwork, Line in the Sand is constructed from recycled materials used to highlight themes of sustainability and repurposing. Comprised of plastic shopping bags filled with sand and installed as a boundary line, the artwork literally drew a line in the sound, thereby raising awareness regarding the use of plastics and their impact on the natural environment.

Next along the beach trail was Roman Liebach’s Still Nature. Unlike many of the other SculptureScape projects Liebach’s artwork was much more formal in construction and composition, and not ephemeral. Fascinated by concepts of the natural world VS the human world VS the industrial world, Liebach made the artwork off site and installed it on the day. While his sculptural installation explored themes similar to the other participating artists, it was less successful as it lacked the dynamics captured by making an artwork onsite and allowing the public interaction offered by the sculturescape concept.

Wandering back along the pathway between the swing bridge and the camping ground Maria Simonelli’s Reclaim emerged subtly from amongst the natural bushland. Reclaim is a double edged sword, seeking to ‘reclaim’ everyday objects to create new aesthetic forms whilst also ‘reclaiming’  traditional womens’ craft. Repurposed doilies and crocheted pieces hugged the organic flow of tree branches, while small LED lights and candles cast soft shadows creating a sensually tactile sensory environment.

AND, of course (self plug) I participated in this category…. and my artwork also examines issues related to climate change and the environment…. I won’t go into here – you can check out what I did in my previous blog post 🙂 But here’s a little pic!

Fire is Happening!

Fire is Happening!

PS- the results of my pit firing are available for sale!

Overall, it would seem the  SculptureScape category  artists were largely concerned with themes of climate change, sustainability, the impact of technology and recycling. These themes are, of course, very suited to the ephemeral nature of the SculptureScape concept. Being framed within an ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ paradigm serves to also emphasis the already successful message being communicated by most of the artists.

***** ALERT!!***** After writing this review I found that the dozens of photos I took of this category have ‘mysteriously’ disapperard??!! Only a few are left-And I had some great pics 😦

So, normally there would be a slideshow or photo gallery of ALL the works I saw …. but not today – trust me I am as *&^%$ as you 😦


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This work by Dawn Whitehand is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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