Sculpture by the Sea 2018

Sculpture by the sea at Bondi is always a feast for the eyes – the sculptures of course, the stunning location, and the people. People relaxed and happy, out for a few hours of entertainment and fun in the sun/rain/cloud/buffeting wind/… I’m also watching myself of course – what is drawing my attention, what about it is attracting me?

Sculpture Inside Gallery

The Sculpture Inside gallery is a fascinating place. I think all of the artists showing there also have large works outside (occasionally in a different year). It’s the scale I work at, so there’s a familiarity. There’s often more freedom and a sense of spontaneity. Safety and gravity aren’t such concerns. Cost in effort and resources is less. Some pieces appear to be maquettes, some are simplifications with similar ideas to the large sculptures, some seem to be basically scaled versions (often produced in multiples, at a more approachable price point than the large works), some appear unrelated other than being from the same hands and mind.

Mikaela Castledine’s Feral installation included 15 pieces placed around a wide area in a small gully. The same crocheted polypropylene was used in her small sculptures. There’s a simplification, but on their plinths the inside cats have personality and attitude.

Wassily Kandinsky
Landscape: Dunaberg near Murnau

vanishing cultures by Stephen Hogan I find very exciting. Perhaps not surprising given my ongoing interest in diagonal lines
– for example by Kandinsky (see 15-Oct-2018). Then there’s the recycled steel rod – linking to my welded Germination II (30-Jun-2017). The base of the sculpture is a number of triangles pieces, which together with the poles create a dynamic mood, but the pagoda/gateway effect of recycled forged steel bracket from a horse dray stabilises the work and gives a serenity. Calming and energising. Hogan’s large work outside is much more placid and stable. It frames the constantly moving waves, but doesn’t respond to them. I felt detached, not drawn in.

Barbara Licha

I didn’t photograph Barbara Licha’s inside sculpture. It was a much simplified version of the same idea, and had much less impact than the large sculpture. For me there was a disconnect in the artist’s statement, which refers to the beauty of Sydney and a desire to make us conscious of where we are. Those caged, twisted forms under the city seem more tortured than happily occupying the space.

Itamar Freed
the kiss (study of auguste rodin)

This small work by Itamar Freed was 3D printed. It’s an interesting modern take on a well-known classic. The figures, clothed in modern dress, appear much more energetic to me than the languorous forms of Rodin’s marble. Male and female have swapped positions in a modern twist. Freed has created an edition of 20, plus 5 artists proofs – taking advantage of the modern technology. I find it interesting and a “proper” use of technology – unlike the AI portrait recently sold at Christies (

Moving outside now…

Sandra Pitkin
Wave Within

Sandra Pitkin
Wave Within (detail)

Beautifully detailed and crafted work from Sandra Pitkin. The wave motif is clear, especially in this location. The artist’s statement references an integration of neural activity within the waves, and our inseparable part in nature.

Lucy Barker
Outlet (detail)

Lucy Barker

Lucy Barker provides quite a different kind of detail. The materials listed for this work are bamboo, salvages electrical cables, bronze. The artist sees this as “a means to rewire and decode our problem of mindless waste”.

Sheltered in the shadow of a rocky overhang, the work looks like an unworldly cocoon. Again, beautiful detail and complexity of surface.

Eric Green
Tetrahedron (detail)

Eric Green

Which has me questioning myself about this work by Eric Green. I was attracted to it by the detail. The form seems odd – busy, complex, almost ungainly. The finish close up is so unusual. It looks really rough. Honestly, it looks like my welding. Most of the metal sculptures in the show are beautifully finished, ground down cleanly, often a mirror finish. The artist’s statement is basically about geometric form.

It was curiosity, trying to decipher what I was seeing, that texture, that led me closer to the work. Obviously that “no trace of the maker’s hand” of lots of other works isn’t the point. I feel conflicted. I normally make approving noises about good craftsmanship. Clearly that’s not the point in this work, there’s a different approach, prioritisation, train of thought. I like messy, lively work. Is it the the thick paint that bothers me? Somehow I find this work unsettling. Which makes it interesting.

Leo Loomans
Icarus Rising (detail)

Leo Loomans
Icarus Rising

Back on safe ground here.
Lots of detail and interest, voids and shadow. Even a classical motif. Interesting, powerful, satisfying, I find more each time I look at it.

Andrew Rogers

“Hold closely in one’s arms; form not anchored by weight; motion within, rhythms, lustrous sheen.” (artist’s statement).

Complexity and detail. Polished and precise – a little too perfect and manicured perhaps. Balanced movement.

It’s getting long and late, so a quick slideshow.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Deborah Halpern
The Face

Finally, simply – joyful and fun.

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October 2018

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