It was well attended by 22 members and had two highlights. Two days earlier the Queens Birthday Honours’ list recognized the service given to the visual arts by the sculptor Michael Victor Meszaros with an Order of Australia Medal, OAM. This honour was enthusiastically toasted by all those at the meeting as acknowledgement of the 42 years Michael has been a full time sculptor.
The speaker for the night was Benjamin (Ben) Gilbert who heads the Agency of Sculpture in Yakandandah, Victoria.
AoS encompasses a highly skilled group of established sculptors, architecture graduates and qualified tradesmen; capable of generating and realizing meaningful and practical design solutions.
A Passion for sculptural quality coupled with pragmatic rural sensibility forms the foundation of Benjamin’s pluralistic methods.
Benjamin gave the group a fascinating visual presentation of sculpture:
Ben works in various materials such as ice, timber, metal and more recently stone. He had four years practical experience in Europe and Russia and holds a postgraduate degree in fine arts from the University of Tasmania. He has won competitions for his work including the NAB children’s choice award in Sydney, Bondi by the Sea in 2008 and has been awarded commissions in Victoria and N.S.W Scandinavia and the Baltic’s.
Benjamin takes a philosophical approach to all his work and has been influenced by the thoughts of the most famous Japanese philosopher Nishida Kitaro who died in 1945. In his “Inquiry into the Good”, Nishida puts great importance on the quantity and quality of life experiences, as being the true determination of the value of a life, much more so than the Western preoccupation with the amassing of goods. This thread of collecting life experiences seems to have provided some at least of the motivation for Ben in the amazing and diverse range of activities he has managed to fit into his 34 years. Ben gave members several opportunities to call a polite end to his presentation, but in each case members wanted to see and hear more. In the end his presentation turned into a genuine fireside chat with members questions coming thick and fast, all being answered in a very frank and factual way. Altogether it was a very fascinating and informative experience for members who wished him well in his future.
PS After the meeting I was inspired to look up the English Wheel on the Internet and found this link to a place in Melbourne http://www.handbuilt.net.au/seminars.shtml - we can always learn.