(d: water or storm damage to land; land first sighted..). The curator, Lara Nichols (who commuted all the way from NGA Canberra) not only selected all 43 artists but also the Landfall theme ‘nature, humanity and art’ - “to bring together brilliant local and international artists who would delve into the dilemma of our endangered world by not being afraid of expressing their thoughts, with emphasis on their environmental awareness & responsibility!”
However, did they get that across? In my opinion most did not! WHERE were all the big meaningful ’Landfall’ sculptures? I felt very disappointed with the real lack of daring or ideal big statement, the lack of innovation and awesomeness - including the usually stunning Small LSB Exhibition; the déja vu-ism bordered on banality, if not boring!! There was a pyramid of old TVs with foil-covered screens; there was a giant shotgun, pointing out to sea of course; a giant-sized bench at the edge of the water; Sonya Payes’ giant-sized black & white facial impressions of her daughter eerily embedded in the sand which kids played all over! There was a story of starkly hideous obelisks with a few plastic flowers on the ground; not to mention the two house frontages, one built out of huge stone blocks & the other out of annoyingly very, very evenly chopped firewood all staked & wired together by a NZer!....
|Marcus Tatton 'The Equation"|
‘Creating Utopia’ was a two-day $440 conference for and by architects, artists(??) and environmentalists on ‘Imagining and Making Futures’. Prior to this the LSB Opening was well supported, mostly by those involved and its avid followers. Whilst I applaud the efforts of all those organising this multi-tiered Lorne exhibition involving Sculpture Trails, Sculpturescape Land Art, Major Projects, Performance, Educational, Workshops, even a puppet depot, Volunteering and Guided Tours, I am constantly left wondering whether most major art exhibitions these days are being usurped by the outsider’s and big business sponsor’s esoteric preferences, undoubtedly to the detriment of authentic sculpture and it’s usually passionate creators!
|Margaret Worth |
|Margaret Worth |
The Emerging Artist Award ($10,000) went to Georgie Humphries for her very kitsch and craftsy ‘Tents.to.see.’ which could only be described as a series or curtain of colourful fabric triangles sewn together to look like aerated, jiving boobs only when the wind blew!
|Georgina Humphries "Tents.to.sea"|
Then the work of Ritchie Ares Doña’s recycled waste “High Density Poly’ Cocoon" snaffled an Hon’ Special Mention with his ‘evocative and fragile, yet somehow monumental’ cone forms woven from plastic bottles using a traditional Philippine technique called ‘Puso’... These were suspended from trees on the coast road near the Swing Bridge - too high to appreciate the workmanship and too ‘missable’ as you drove in or out of town in a vehicle!
‘On a sadder and yet celebratory, commemorative note’, the judges made a second Honorary Special Mention to the recently deceased Matthew Harding for his ‘elegant’ work “Landbridge 2018”, made from reclaimed Rosebud pier posts ‘with great humility and respect for the integrity of his materials, along with a dynamic narrative and form...
|Matthew Harding "Landbridge"|
|Tony Wolfenden & the Lorne Men's Shed|
|Ryan F Kennedy "S.O.S."|
One of my favourites was Tony Wolfendon (British born industrial designer) and The Lorne Men’s Shed’s beautiful entry of “Couta Memory” made of marine-grade plywood, epoxy coated and separated by brass spacers with Cor-ten steel base, subtly oozing quality and deservingly winning a major prize and many admirers!
The Ken Scarlett Writer’s Award ($3,000) went to Barnaby Smith whose “Landfall” article is excellent and a must-read IF... you can actually find it on the LSB web! It is a nationwide competition offering an opportunity for all Australian writers to contribute to, if not overcome a previous dearth of critical writing and educational information about contemporary sculpture for the public.
The People’s Choice Award I believe went to Ryan F Kennedy (born USA, lives Vic) for his “S.O.S.” Installation (another one!) referred to ‘as a vast performative work’ made up of a huge number of glass bottles supposedly stuffed with visitors’ messages - the whole scene emulating a bottle graveyard which, along with other morbid simulating installations, was perhaps a fitting finale to the original exhibition sub-theme of ‘nature, humanity and art’ - for there was no better, more perfect a combination of these three ‘ingredients’ than Matty Harding’s contribution in “Landbridge” - yet another stunning representation of his sensitivity and extraordinary talent, incorporating a beautiful twist in design that, inadvertently foreshadowed his very own fatal twist. By now we hope many a kind philanthropist will have helped to commemoratively and permanently retain this iconic, ingenious and monumental work for all to treasure in Lorne.