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.

In Memoriam

The ASV mourns the recent passing of some of our senior sculptors. Thanks to Michael Adeney and Gillian Govan for these obituaries.


Ernst Fries 1934 - 2020
Ernst was born in Wurzburg, Germany in 1934. Wurzburg was heavily bombed by the Allies during world war two and Ernst’s experiences included running through streets when houses on both sides were burning and sheltering in a small concrete bunker when he and his mate were strafed by a fighter plane while they were playing in a playground. Ernst studied gold and silversmithing in Switzerland and in 1952 emigrated to Australia with his wife Rosmarie.

Ernst Fries "Culture Window"
Ernst didn’t care too much about sculptural fashion but rather developed his own style which led to expression in organic shapes in stainless steel, glass, granite and concrete. Stainless steel is a particularly hard and unforgiving material to work with and Ernst was a sophisticated welder and finisher. He also became interested in the use of Dalle de Verre glass set in concrete and polyurethane. His many public works include Interaction at Wandin on the Warburton highway reflecting the produce grown in the locality and the Black Saturday Bushfire Memorial situated in Mackenzie Reserve, Yarra Glen.

Ernst was an active contributing member of the ASV and held the position of President for a couple of years. He will be remembered for his own independent philosophy and the style that grew out of it.

The following link shows some of his works https://www.yarravalleyarts.org.au/ernst-fries Ernst's book written during the war in Germany - Life on the Other side, can be ordered hard, soft or e-book via Blurb. https://au.blurb.com/b/1754847-life-on-the-other-side

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Leopoldine (Poldi) Mimovich OAM 1920 - 2019
Leopoldine Mimovich was born in 1920 and grew up in the village of Sankt Johann, Austria (now a part of Italy). She studied sculpting in Vienna but the war intervened, - Hitler shut down the art school and Poldi had to make bombs in a munitions factory. Her first husband, Othmar Vockner was killed fighting on the Russian front in 1941, three years after their marriage. After the war she studied traditional Tyrolean wood carving methods at the School of Wood Sculpture in Hallstatt. This style is typified by the elongated faces of European Gothic church carvings and came to feature in many of her later religious works.

Poldi married Leo Mimovich, a Serbian, held captive and tortured by the Gestapo near her village. Losing her Austrian citizenship upon marriage, they applied to migrate to Australia ending up at the Bonegilla Reception and Training Centre near Albury. They then moved to Royal Park Migrant Camp in Melbourne where they began two year labour contracts, - Poldi in a shirt factory and Lou at a brickworks. Shifting jobs to Meyers, she carved furniture there for a number of years and developed a healthy and sustained stream of commissioned work, mainly religious. Her style in later years expressed a more abstract and free flowing form and she used local material such as Huon pine. She also did work in bronze. Her simple styles and forms convey elegance and a remarkable depth of proportion as well as a sensitivity to human emotion. She was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 1985 for service to sculpture.

Young Love, Leopoldine Mimovich 1995
Photographer: Taryn Ellis, Museums Victoria
Poldi was adept at business - she knew what she had to charge to make a living and was very good at explaining the time, materials and expenses involved to prospective clients. Although successful in sculpture, she remained modest and self-effacing - always willing to help if asked. In later years she was hampered by a lung condition related to wood dust. She was a regular exhibitor with the ASV till about 20 years ago but she subsequently maintained her membership as an act of solidarity to support the association.

Poldi will be remembered as kind, enthusiastic and accomplished - someone who had endured much and yet carved a path of self-sufficiency and contribution while remaining true to her origins.
https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/255860
Other images of Leopoldine and her work can be found here
https://origins.museumsvictoria.com.au/media/ImportedCountryImages/Austria/mn009106.jpg
https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/articles/3507
There is a great picture of Poldi in the early days at work in her studio (go to the very bottom of this link.
https://www.annenewman.com.au/leopoldine-mimovich/

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Rod Sanders 1936 -2020
Rod Sanders "The Mannequin"
Rod began his working career as a pharmacist. Having an interest in sculpture and being influenced by the Centre 5 group of sculptors he began a part time degree at RMIT in fine arts, completing it six years later. Selling his pharmacy, he purchased land at Main Ridge where he established a biodynamic blueberry farm and developed his sculpting style. Influenced in early years by Karl Duldig, Rod’s sculpture was abstract in nature, focusing on the human form in welded steel. He was able to distil a realistic form down to abstract essentials with some remarkable results. He never pursued the commercial aspect of his sculpture - he just loved doing it.

Rod was president of ASV for a couple of years. Easy to talk to, low key and with a dry sense of humour, he could perhaps be described as a quiet achiever, - someone who took a keen interest in things, approached them with a professional mindset and lived life well according to what he valued.

The blueberry farm was based on the biodynamic principles of minimal chemicals and maximum natural nutrition - using compost (microbes and fungi) to build a healthy soil rather than relying on fertiliser and pesticides.

Always interested in the work of other sculptors, Rod’s dedication to the ASV was seen in taking the long drive from Main Ridge to participate in ASV meetings and activities. Rod was a modest man but rightly took pride in his sculptural work. He will be remembered for his contribution and enthusiasm.

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Valda Cuming "Totem"
Valda Cuming 1929 - 2020
It was with great sadness that we received the news of the death of Valda Cuming. Valda had been an active member of the Association since the late 80’s as a committee member, exhibition coordinator and active sculptor and exhibitor.

Valda was well loved for her extraordinary energy, skill, quirky sculptures and her wonderful passion for passing her knowledge to others.

In 2019 Valda was deservedly awarded an OAM for her service to the Visual Arts.

Her work can be seen on the front page of our website as well as on her profile page https://sculptorsvictoria.asn.au/sculptors/profile/valda-cuming. Valda will be greatly missed by many.

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