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.
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.
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:
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!
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:
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!
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 😦
In the meantime the following images are of the sculptures that emerged from the pit firing – I am very happy with the results of the project, and the colour responses achieved in the firing.
Some of the works did sell on the day of unloading the pit, and the remaining works are now available for sale online – this means no gallery fees or commissions – so grab a collectable piece of sculpture direct from the artist.
All pieces are wheelthrown and manipulated while still wet, burnished and after firing sealed with a clear wax product – in this case neutral shoe polish.
Feel free to message me for further information such as dimensions, postage , etc….
Click on the individual images below to view a larger image.
Each piece is individually signed by myself.
You can express your interest by commenting below or messaging me by my Facebook page :
As regular readers will know last weekend was the opening of the Lorne Sculpture Biennale, and I will be publishing a separate post about this soon.
But for now, I would like to share the ceramic pit firing I did on the beach as part of the Sculpturescape category in the show.
I arrived in Lorne on Friday afternoon so that I could borrow a friends ute to drive into nearby Colac and pick up the wood for the project which was kindly donated by Shelton Timber. The Biennale opening was on Saturday, and the Sculturescape projects began on Sunday.
The weather was very warm on Sunday, hitting the 30Cs during the day, which would normally be great – but when stoking an open fire for three hours… umm, not so good!!
I (well actually my partner Strobe – because the film crew came along just at that moment for an interview) began digging the pit at about 10am Sunday morning, and I then lit a small fire in the hole to dry out the moist sand. While this burned I prepared the sculptures using seaweed, copper wire, salted string and gumleaves.
When the small fire had burnt out and the pit was dry I added another layer of wood, some pine cones and cow dung and placed the sculptures on top. Salt, iron oxide, and copper sulphate were sprinkled over the ceramics, and a layer of seaweed was then added followed by another layer of wood. Some kindling and newspaper was the final layer, closely followed by a match, and the firing was underway!
As mentioned, the pit was stoked for about three hours, and again, thanks to my partner Strobe for splitting the wood as I stoked. When a good layer of coals covered the works the pit was covered with corrugated iron and sealed with sand, allowing for a slow simmer and cool down overnight.
Witches hats and remaining wood was used to barricade the pit – I didn’t want anyone falling in overnight!!
The following morning we arrived at the pit at 11am,and it was already cool enough to unload. The works were removed from the pit, and gently cleaned with a soft paintbrush and polished with a neutral shoe polish to seal the surfaces and give a soft sheen in keeping with the organic nature of the sculptures.
Though I have conducted many pit firings, I had never actually experienced one on the beach. This, combined with using a different wood than I usually use, made the firing a little unpredictable, but the results were great- and I sold some pieces on the day!!
Many people stopped and looked and chatted over the course of the two days, which is the entire point of the Sculpturescape category – having artist making works on site and engaging the general public, and making art more tangible and accessible.
There are five Sculpturescape projects each week during the Biennale, so twenty in all: I am hoping to get back to see a few of them and blog about them… but until then here is a sideshow of my pit firing this weekend – it does contain quite a few images, bit for those interested in the process it is well worth the look::-)
UPDATE – For those interested in knowing more about pit firing and the artists that include this preocesss in their art practice I have written a book published by Schiffer which is available here http://www.schifferbooks.com/pit-firing-ceramics-modern-methods-ancient-traditions-5326.html
Curated by Julie Collins, the Lorne Sculpture Biennale is a bi-annual event, and this year features more than one hundred Australian artists in three categories – the Sculpture Trail Award, which winds its way along the Lorne shoreline, the Small Sculpture Award and the Sculpturescape Award. Sculpturescape features artists making temporary works in different locations during the course of the exhibition. There have also been a number of sculpture commissions installed throughout the main street, and some performing artists will also present during the course of the show. This year there is also a new award for critical arts writing about sculpture, called the Scarlett Award, named after eminent sculpture writer Ken Scarlett..
I am participating in the Sculpturescape category, and have also entered two articles in the arts writing award.
For the Sculpturescape category I am doing a pit firing on the beach, which should be very exciting. The weather for the weekend is going to be ideal – around the mid 20’s – not too hot, not too cold. I will be conducting the pit firing on Sunday 9th March and will be unloading it on Monday 10th March – and the works that emerge from the pit will be available to purchase on the day, warm from the pit.
The Biennale opens on Saturday 8th March at 3pm, and if past shows are any indication the next three weeks will be an art lovers paradise, and an eye opener for those less familiar with art and sculpture.
If you can’t make the show stay tuned to this blog for a future post and pics of all the amazing visual treasures that the exhibition promises.
As some readers may know, I recently got married – last weekend in fact – and as a consequence I have fallen a bit behind in what I want and need to do over the next couple of months!!
For instance I am curating an exhibition at Backspace gallery in Ballarat scheduled for April – the deadline of which was today, but I have been so pre-occupied with ‘wedding’ stuff I have overlooked sending out reminders and, coupled with a few enquiries about late entries, have decided to extend the deadline to next Friday 21st February – hopefully I can be organised by then!! The entry form can be downloaded here: https://dawnwhitehand.wordpress.com/2013/12/17/call-for-entries-the-earthen-centre/
I am also participating in the Sculpturescape category of the Lorne Sculpture Biennale opening on the 8th March, where I will be demonstrating a pit firing on the beach. I will do the actual firing on the 9th March with my own sculptural pieces and will unload them on the 10th – unloaded will be available for sale on the day. Yikes, I guess I better start making!!
A new dimension to the Lorne Sculpture Biennale this is year is the Scarlett Award, a writing award aimed at developing critical writing about contemporary sculpture. The Award is named after Ken Scarlett, a curator and writer on Australian sculpture who regards himself as an observer and reporter and has actively worked to promote Australian sculpture for over 40 years.
So, I have two articles I want to write to submit for this ward – one reviewing the Sculpt Chair Exhibition which was held in Daylesford over the Australia Day long weekend, and the other reviewing the works of Melinda Muscat’s latest exhibition at Unicorn Galley in Ballarat. These articles are due by the 28th February – yikes again!!
I have also been curated into the inaugural launch of ContainArt – a public art initiative of the City of Ballarat. The concept is a touring exhibition housed in repurposed shipping containers which travel throughout the Central Highlands region featuring local artists and designers, the idea being the ‘travelling’ galleries will bring art to towns and people who normally don’t have access to exhibitions. the opening is 28th February – again yikes!!
And finally…. as some readers may know, my book Pit Firing Ceramics: Modern Methods, Ancient Traditions was recently published. As a result I am organising a book launch here in Australia, in the town in which I live, and I am curating an exhibition to accompany it featuring works from contributors to the book. The exhibition is planned for somewhere between May to June – which sounds like a way off, but still needs lots of organising in the meantime.
And all of this in between the usual stuff of teaching, blogging, writing, drawing, etc!!
So, what does this mean??
The wedding ‘bliss’ is over, and the workaholic returns!! haha.. (though I did enjoy having a few days of novel reading).
This weekend is the Australian Ceramics Association “Unearth Your Local Potter” open studio showcase weekend. Australia wide potters are opening their studios to the public from 10am till 4pm on Saturday and Sunday, so that you can observe them in their natural habitat! Some potters will also have their wares for sale, so you can buy something handmade and unique directly.
Finding a potter near you is as easy as visiting the Australian Ceramics Association’s website.
If you are in Victoria you can visit my studio also. I am not sure what I will be doing as yet – glazing, throwing or firing my kiln, or a combination. I do need to make some work for the Lorne Sculpture Biennale in March next year where I am participating in the Sculpturescape section. I am performing a pit firing on the beach, so need to make work to fire in the pit.
I will also have some tableware, sculpture and jewellery for sale.
So, maybe I will see on the weekend 🙂
Stelarc is an Australian internationally known performance artist who performed at the Lorne Sculpture show this year. His performance was based around his Ear On Arm project, a project which has evolved over the past decade. Stelarc has grafted a replicate ear on his left forearm, which will eventually be able to hear and respond. More information about his project can be found here: http://stelarc.org/?catID=20242
Much of Stelarc’s past work has centered around “the body”… its use, how it can or cannot be modified, bodily identity, what the body can or cannot withstand and similar such themes.
I enjoyed this performance. From my perspective Stelarc’s laying on an oversized sculpture of his “Ear on Arm” and being painted with white clay slip, enabled him to merge with the sculpture, signifying his becoming ‘one’ with the decade long project, which has been problematic at times… finally his identity merged with the altered , yet (in the future) functional ear on arm: a mutual acceptance.
But are there larger societal questions at stake here? The introduced ear is foreign to the arm… it doesn’t belong… it looks “different”, “funny”…yet Stelarc presents a scenario where each accepts the other, but under what conditions? A passive merging … a homogenisation? In the context of globalisation such questioning of acceptance, on personal, social, economic and political levels, are crucial. This is now evident with the mass revolutionary movements that are occurring worldwide.
But I will get off my soapbox now & just say that it was great to see so many families wandering around the show on the weekend, because the young kids that are getting exposed to wide and varied art at a young age will be those revolutionary thinkers of the future… we hope!! (oops, soapboxing again!!) Enjoy the slideshow!!
The Lorne Sculpture Show was great… Large outdoor sculpture, small indoor sculpture, performance art, artists making sculpture on the day so that the general public could watch, interact and ask questions and children’s workshops to engage kids and introduce them to new ideas, mediums and 3D concepts.
The following slideshow are photos I took of some of my favourite works. They are all outdoor works as it was too difficult to photograph the indoor works as they were all in the shop windows along the promenade, and reflections from shop windows are hideous to work with!!
I will post some photos of the performances and other happenings of interest over the next few days.
If you live in Victoria or are lucky enough to be on holiday here it is well worth a visit to Lorne to check out the show.