We cooperate as an association to advance the practice of sculpture and the reputation and appreciation of sculpture and sculptors in the community. This is regardless of whether or not we make a living from sculpture and regardless of our preferred style or medium. To this end we support artists’ moral rights, we advocate a professional attitude to the production and presentation of work and encourage the artistic and intellectual stimulation of interaction amongst artists of all persuasions.

Mark Cowie at the October Meeting

Mark Cowie
Mark Cowie was the featured speaker at the October meeting that was well hosted by Marija Patterson, in the absence overseas of ASV President, Gillian Govan.

Mark took us through the way his life has unfolded, from his 20 years as a criminologist working in the prison system and with Victoria Police, to his lifetime change to being a semi-professional sculptor, but who is required to paint houses for an income, because the latter, like for most artists, does not pay the bills. He has been a member of the ASV for 13 years, and has been an absolute tower of strength in organising the sculpture exhibitions at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden show and the Tesselaar Sculpture Prize over the last nine years.

Mark was given a welder as a Christmas present some 15 years ago and was immediately captivated with the notion that two pieces of steel could be joined/welded together. Motivated by the creative opportunities this new skill opened-up, Mark embarked on a journey of artistic discovery. He showed us pictures of some of the 200 metal flowers he created and welded as his first business venture, before becoming unmotivated with such repetitive endeavours whereupon he branched out into exploring abstract metal sculpture.
mark's work at MIFGS 2007
 

Mark explained that sculpture has played a very important part in his life as a healing mechanism, an emotional anchor, so to speak, for his creative side and an awakening of personal and existential dynamics. He is very interested in symbols and how they evolve organically in his work. The form and shape peculiar to the majority of Mark’s works come to him in dreams or in mental images that appear naturally during the course of his waking hours. Working with steel, stone and, more recently, clay and wood Mark finds that these materials can be manipulated, re-defined and transformed into abstract pieces that essentially represent the organic intuitive structures of Nature and the elemental patterns of the human psyche.

Across a broad range of works and working with different media, much of Mark’s work is characterised by flowing forms of circles and spheres, which often come back on themselves, combining different elements, in a whimsical way. He often finds himself in an almost unconscious zone when he is creating a state many other artists can relate to – and to which he finds very satisfying and personally comforting.

 
Assisting Grant Finke
An important part of Mark’s development as an artist was his six-month tenure as a sculptor’s assistant to Grant Finck. During this period Mark worked alongside Grant creating and bringing to life his large outdoor public commission sculpture. The completed monumental work now stands proudly outside Laverton railway station.

Yes that is snow!

Mark’s most significant work to date is an installation of some 54 painted wooden poles (totems) on his country property at Bullarto. As a story of his life, each band of colour on each totem represents different elements, things and phases and experiences in his life. There are also many sculptures dotted around his property. The painted totems and other property-related work has been developed in addition to the substantial body of work that Mark has created over the last decade.

Mark finds achieving a satisfactory work/ life balance is easier now having the time to develop better skills and with more patience to apply them. Mark also draws as often as time permits and is also an occasional painter of abstract works.

"Somewhere out in the Universe"
at MIFGS 2014

Having exhibited his work in over 100 solo, joint and group exhibitions, he has also completed a range of private commissions. His work is represented in private, public and corporate collections. In addition to a number of awards achieved across his brief career, Mark won the Mt Buller Sculpture Prize in 2006 and has twice been awarded first place in the fabricated section at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show.

Mark’s sculptural works are on display at Little Gallery in Trentham, where he is part of a small artistic co-operative.

Gordon Robertson,

ASV Member

No comments: