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 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
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 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.
Other images of Leopoldine and her work can be found here
There is a great picture of Poldi in the early days at work in her studio (go to the very bottom of this link.
Rod Sanders 1936 -2020
|Rod Sanders "The Mannequin"|
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.
|Valda Cuming "Totem"|
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.