Photograph © 2013-2014 Barbara Madden
In 2013 NewArts Inc. presented the inaugural Sculpture in the Harbour event. Mounted in the waters adjacent to the Albany Entertainment Centre, the event featured 12 sculptures made by contemporary artist, and 2 made by local school children. During the event, more than 5000 visitors viewed the artworks.
Recycled corrugated iron, recycled galvanised iron, wire, steel.
Seagulls are delightful. They have character, hierarchy, personalities, they fight, squabble, bully, play, court, and love each other. They seem to rarely share but they certainly steal, from each other, people, rubbish tips, fishing nets, picnic tables... don’t tempt them with a chip. They hunt, fly, soar and perch on any available surface. They are not pets but how can you not enjoy them and their antics, bold manner, stately stance and beautiful white feathers.
Originally from New Zealand with a partial Maori heritage which has influenced my work, the art of wood carving obviously is very strong in my native land.
My challenge is one of interpretation of the local environment, contemporary and historic issues, using techniques, imagery and mediums not so familiar in Western Australia. This is achieved by reacting in observation with the animal and plant species, human interrelations, within the environment. Inspiration may come from an eclectic mosaic from an article I have read, a microscopic image or even earth’s atmospheric conditions as seen from outer space. Another principal for me in creating works is good craftsmanship as in the work having a presence of its own, a life that may speak to others, like the Maori have the philosophy of Mana or personal power or a life of its own within the object.
‘That was the River, This is the Sea’ was a reaction to an article about a Japanese fishing boat pulling up a decomposing carcass, thinking it was the remains of a dinosaur type creature, but which turned out to be a dead whale. Due to human contemporary life styles, many of the oceans’ environmental problems start at the rivers and end at the seas.
Steel, timber, mesh, rigid foam and resins with acrylic paint finish. (Model for casting)
Working as a sole practitioner in architecture since 1974 allowed me the freedom to incorporate the arts of all mediums and disciplines into my predominantly commercial and institutional projects. I have worked in many mediums ranging from ceramics, photo montage to steel, glass, concrete, stone and plastics, subject matter generally influenced by the architectural project or client user.
The human form and condition has always fascinated me, I marvel at the ancient carvings, tribal art and classical sculptures. This exhibition allows me to explore many of my interests, the human form in the landscape/seascape, relationship to the built and natural environment, movement and humour.
Forged and welded steel and paint.
This work is a study for a larger work. The symbolic wings reference the coastal hinterland in particular wind currents and flight patterns. There is also a strong parallel connection with seafaring history in regard to winged protective spirits that guide and protect seafarers. The forged steel is used here as a kind of drawing medium using line, volume and texture to draw the backdrop of the sky and ocean.
Exasperated by the god-like veneration from his advisers, the mythical leader Knut (Canute) had himself placed at the ocean’s edge on the return tide. He commanded the waves to halt. The waves did not. In this way he clearly demonstrated the gap between responsibility and omnipotence - he may control the positioning of his throne, but not all its consequences. Such open self-assessment - a serious precursor to wisdom - appears now largely absent among us. We seem to be deep in an age which considers ‘failure’ and ‘success’ more issues of perception, best taken care of by marketing. The modern Canute has been pressured to step down for devaluing the celebrity of his office.
This piece is a not-so-subtle commentary on the choices humanity is faced with around future power generation and the global consequences of such choices…. Placing all global warming science and conjecture aside for a moment…..
How do we intuitively feel about power generated from naturally occurring systems such as waves, wind, sun and even heat from within the earth?
Power generated from digging up vast quantities of the planet, transporting it to other parts of the planet and burning it in huge polluting power plants?
We stand at a pivotal time in human history in which these choices need to be made, choices that will affect our children and grandchild. What is our legacy to be?
(This is a location oriented work and should ideally be viewed with wind turbines framed in the background.)
This work can be read in two ways...
Lift your trousers as the waters reach out to touch you. There is a quiet pleasure from this, the contact of water on our feet, from puddles to oceans the water is a part of us and this small act can transport us back to a time when joy could be found in simpler things.
The second interpretation is more about a commentary on the threat of global warming and rising sea levels. We can wonder about the effect this may have on our lives, will this simple pleasure become more ominous?
Our Future (above middle) by John Calvin School Year 7 students and teacher Eritia Bax with Michael O’Doherty
Untitled (above right) by Albany Senior High School, Year 10’s with teacher Sandy O’Doherty
After a drawing process looking at ideas of past present and future, the students fixed very firmly and vibrantly on their futures which they saw in the most positive terms blue skies, palm trees, endless beaches and enthusiasm for life yet to be lived.
I have done sculptural whale forms of vastly differing scales for a while now, after all THIS IS ALBANY. But this location offers up the rare opportunity to put things right into context, so a breaching whale form is a natural conclusion. I decided on a stylised rendering in rust finished wrought iron using a bit of negative space. I just love these animals and love the form.