Two of our many new members turned up, young men full of enthusiasm and fresh ideas. They were made particularly welcome by the assembled group and quizzed about their work. I think they may have been taken slightly aback by the enthusiastic welcome they received. Their appearance was all the more gratifying as young members are the lifeblood of our association. Not only do we need new members, but new young members with a contemporary vision and the enthusiasm to fulfil it. Without them our association will languish. I hope to see the work of these and all the rest of our new members in our exhibitions in 2008.
A couple of weeks ago I saw the McClelland Sculpture Survey and Award for 2007. With its main genres of ‘abstraction, figuration and illusion’ it is diverse and yet cohesive. All possible evocations are present. The works range from what has become the conventionally aesthetic to the uncomfortably confrontational. Whilst size is always impressive some of the most intriguing are below eye-level and in some cases less than knee height. Some you have to look into while to others you must lend an ear. There is something here, indeed several things, to arrest the attention of any viewer.
The works are arranged along a windy path through the bush seemingly cut by a dozer minutes before sculptures were tipped off the back of a following truck like hay to a herd of cattle. You are invited to follow the trail and ‘join the dots’ but at the same time have a wary eye to the ground for the legless reptiles that, in the mind of this ophidiophobic, slither and coil into the nooks and crannies of every sculpture waiting to strike.
You always want to see the winner of course. And I did. There it was, black and forbidding almost threatening, smaller than I expected, about the height of a man, and raised on a high plinth commanding the small clearing in which you are now trapped with it. Amor’s Relic, an armless, black figure with a dog-like head is at once vulnerable and threatening.
The big names are there of course; Bartlett with his stately Aurora #2, its partly organic even flimsy nature belying the harshness of its steel construction, Eicholtz with his naked Adonis bearing up under a load of luscious, extravagant, abundance of fruit; sexy if not seedy to his fingertips. From elf-like creatures in the undergrowth, aliens that talk to you in a whisper, political statements and understatements, the purely aesthetic form and an old ugly duckling of a giant truck tyre recycled as a glorious swan there is something here to excite, puzzle and inspire any sculptor. If they can do it, you think, so can I; but maybe on a smaller scale.
And so to our own exhibitions. Three in all starting with the Herring Island Summer Festival. Entries are due soon so get to it.
That’s followed by MIFGS in April with its larger prize pool, greater publicity and feature sculptor attractions. Peter Blizzard will be the judge.
And finally our annual show will be at Montsalvat in September.
These are great exhibitions in which all our members can exhibit their work whether large or small, indoor or out, amateur or professional. All but the downright obscene are welcome; I expect to see you there.