Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Art in the Bush

Kinetic work by NZ sculptor Phil Price

It’s a time for art – as opposed to earthquakes. For the last two years, I’ve been so focussed on documenting the changing face of post-earthquake Christchurch, that my usual posts on my other passions – art, architecture, design and general ‘visual paraphernalia’ – have slipped by the wayside. But it’s not for a lack of thinking about them; and ever since I was introduced to the McClelland Gallery & Sculpture Park on Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsula in May, I’ve been planning to share some of the highlights.
When a friend suggested the visit, I was apprehensive. I hadn’t heard of the park – despite it being billed as “Australia’s leading sculpture park” – and I imagined giant tin koala bears, stone kangaroos and wooden wombats cavorting across the landscape. I needn’t have worried. The place is astonishing and quite the best sculpture park I’ve seen in a long time.

"Torus - Hidden & Revealed"Adrian Page, Australia 1945-2010.

Set in 16 hectares of bush and landscaped gardens in Langwarrin, 4kms east of Frankston on the Mornington Peninsula, it attracts thousands of visitors each year. While the modern gallery presents an inspiring and engaging range of changing exhibitions and public programs, the outdoor sculpture collection showcases over 70 works by prominent Australian sculptors such as Inge King, Lenton Parr, Clement Meadmore, Anthony Pryor and Norma Redpath along with, recent acquisitions including Rick Amor, Peter Corlett, Robert Owen, Lisa Roet and Ken Unsworth – and I was thrilled to discover, three works by Christchurch sculpture, Phil Price, including the top work shown above, which Rupert Murdoch and his family commissioned for their mother, Lady Elisabeth Murdoch’s 100th birthday in 2009. (She is now 103).

"Twisters 2006" Phil Price, New Zealand B.1965
Kinetic Sculpture, Phil Price, New Zealand.

"Red Memory Smile (detail), Chen Wenling, China B. 1969

"Annulus 2007" Ken Unsworth Asutralia. B.1931.

"White  Ape 2005" Lisa Roet, Australia. B.1967

"Anno Domino 2009" Geoffrey Ricardo, Australia. B.1964.

""Spillwater 1966-67" Matthew Cox & Darren Davison, Australia
(One of my favourites - so quintessentially Australian)

Not actually an artwork at all - just a buoy in the lake. But it was my favourite shot of the day.

I forgot to get the name of this work - I was so duistracted by its reflection in the lake, not to mention that buoy.

Another of my favourite pieces that I forgot to name.

"Libra 1977" Lenton Parr, Australia, 1924-2003.

"Snuffle 2002-03" Sebastian Di Mauro, Australia.  B.1955

"Red,Yellow,Black 2002-03" Peter D Cole, Australia. B.1947

"Untitled 1/76, 1976" Reg Parker, Australia. B.1925.
Another of my favourite pieces.

Finishing where I began..... the unnamed man in the trees.

And, because I'm never far from either art or earthquakes these days, here's a very happy combination - Michael Parakowhai's Bulls, currently on show in Christchurch on a now-vacant city lot.

The Bulls of course are part of another whole story about the flourishing of art in Christchurch's earthquake-torn public spaces. In the absence of galleries, art has taken to the streets...... but more on that another time.

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